Release Date: 07/02/2020
Label: Sharptone Records
For Fans Of: Code Orange, Deftones, Nine Inch Nails
Ambition can mean a lot of different things within music. It could mean a band’s desire to play bigger venues, sell more records and headline festivals. It might be an ambition to create something that’s never been heard before, to push their art as far as they possibly can. It might even be as simple as the ambition to make a record which captures a specific sound or moment in time for the band. Sometimes when we’re really lucky; we get artists who have the ambition to achieve all of the above. Sometimes we get bands like Loathe, and records like I Let It In And It Took Everything.
After emerging through the UK underground with debut album The Cold Sun in 2017 the Liverpudllians have built up a fierce reputation with their hardcore/electronic blend. The band possessed all the precision of tech-metal yet brought so much more personality and a far more raw and gritty ‘street’ feel to their music. However this time out they have pushed far, far beyond that and have created an album which feels more like a film score in its scope and widescreen presentation. ‘Theme’ opens the record with what seems like a fairly common ‘calm before the storm’ synth-laden ambience, however ‘Aggressive Evolution’ soon makes sure that any expectations are truly shattered as that same ambience and a huge heap of 90s alt-rock is added to Loathe’s usual mixing pot.
Throughout the album even more left turns and subversions are thrown the listener’s way. From the laid-back shoegaze of ‘Two-Way Mirror’ and ‘A Sad Cartoon’, the soothing pop-like ‘ooohs’ buried within the many layers of ‘Screaming’, and the much more prominent industrial sounds on ‘Gored’, it sounds like the band have managed to squeeze a little bit of everything into this record. The true craft and genius of the album though, is how it has all been woven together, not just in terms of songs flowing into one another, but the movements within songs themselves. ‘Heavy Is The Head Which Falls With The Weight of A Thousand Thoughts’ feels like a tour of all heavy music in just four minutes, managing to squeeze black metal, tech metal and some industrial noise into the cacophony. The aforementioned ‘Screaming’ is one of the very best examples of how to create progressive music which doesn’t feel like it’s wandering aimlessly or running in circles but seamlessly moves between hardcore heaviness and ambient beauty.
To top it all off, the track also transitions into what is a very early contender for song of the year in ‘Is It Really You’. This feels like the song which the rest of the album was built around; a bittersweet and cinematic ballad which is as haunting as it is beautiful and yet still manages to retain its bite. It is the last thing anyone would have expected from Loathe which is part of what makes it such an achievement and it’s at this point the rest of the album begins to make real sense. Here is becomes clear that there is a lot of pain and hurt buried within the record somewhere, and not just in your usual angry hardcore way.
Sometimes you can really hear bands ‘come of age’ on a record. When you look back at their careers it’s the moment where they seemed to find themselves and crafted the sound they would later become known for. I Let It In… is that moment for Loathe. There is every chance that their next album will see the band morph into something completely different depending on where the next few years takes them. However this is the record which sees them define themselves as a band who want to push boundaries and experiment with their music and absolutely refuse to be held back by expectations. Now that is true ambition.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Two-Way Mirror’, ‘Screaming’, ‘Is It Really You’,