Metal Hammer (UK) - - Subterrane­a - JOE DALY

From the crypts of an­cient Egypt to Love­craft’s Cthulhu mythos, metal loves a good leg­end. Keenly em­brac­ing this tra­di­tion on their epony­mous full-length de­but, Canada’s Loviatar con­jure a dark and strik­ing land­scape of fa­bled beasts, ter­ri­ble plagues and Scan­di­na­vian deities. “We try to tell a story in pictures and sound­tracks,” says drum­mer JP Sadek, “and myths and fan­tasy pro­vide the per­fect foun­da­tion.”

Tak­ing the band’s name from the Fin­nish god­dess of death and dis­ease, JP ex­plains, “Norse and Vik­ing mythol­ogy aren’t cen­tral to our cre­ative process or vi­sion, but we carry the strength and fe­roc­ity of Loviatar into ev­ery song.”

Loviatar is a thrilling af­fair, surg­ing with taut riffs, spinecrush­ing polyrhythm­s and dizzy­ing tem­pos. Ef­fec­tively split into two parts, the al­bum opens with Sty­gian Wyrm – an ex­pan­sive three-part suite about a dragon who in­ter­acts with mankind to ex­plore hu­man ex­pe­ri­ences such as love, be­trayal, cor­rup­tion and mur­der. JP says, “A song as big as Sty­gian Wyrm needed a theme that was equally gar­gan­tuan.”

Just as most mythol­ogy stems from cur­rent events, Loviatar is equally in­formed by to­day’s head­lines, al­though vo­cal­ist/ gui­tarist JD clar­i­fies, “While you could in­ter­pret the songs as warn­ings, our species isn’t ter­ri­bly good at heed­ing them. Bet­ter to think of them as eu­lo­gies.”

The al­bum closes with Blind God­dess Of The Nine Plagues, an ut­terly trans­fix­ing, 17-minute epic that al­ter­nates be­tween soft, ethe­real melodies, spacey psy­che­delic for­ag­ing and tow­er­ing cli­maxes of ter­ri­fy­ing po­tency.

En­tirely self-pro­duced and recorded in their own stu­dio, Loviatar is an ex­pan­sive and wholly im­mer­sive voy­age whose scale and am­bi­tion are ri­valled only by the fan­tas­ti­cal crea­tures within its realm. Show­cas­ing a star­tling depth and lay­ered with sub­tle dy­nam­ics, the band are enor­mously pleased with the re­sult. Says JP, “My hope at the out­set was for the record to come out ex­actly as it is – un­com­pro­mised.”

Loviatar want the scales to fall from hu­man­ity’s eyes

LINEUP: JD: (vo­cals, rhythm gui­tar), JP Sadek (drums, back­ing vo­cals), Shane Whit­bread (lead gui­tar), Mike Bond (bass) SOUNDS LIKE: A di­rect-into-the-heart in­jec­tion of prog-metal, psych and doom. FOR FANS OF: Mastodon, Baroness, Isis CUR­RENT...

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