“Someone’s been listening to Deftones!” Yes, someone has. Someone’s been listening to Gore in particular.
But someone’s also been listening to Rolo Tomassi and Code Orange and Car Bomb and Conjurer and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Svalbard and Employed To Serve and Biffy Clyro and Converge and fuck knows who else.
The triumph of Loathe’s new album, I Let It In And It Took Everything isn’t convincing a newcomer like me of Loathe’s place at the top table of the British underground I love so much, but somehow taking this extraordinary palette of influences and making them all shine without ever once limiting the coherence of the record.
After a brief classical intro Loathe tear into the album with the gleeful, glitchy stomp of ‘Aggressive Evolution’, sure to be a live staple for years. It offers the first of the album’s haunting vocals, the reason for the ubiquitous comparison with you-know-who.
It’s followed by the good-time explosion of ‘Broken Vision Rhythm’ and the album’s headline-grabbing single, ‘Two-Way Mirror’, which slows things down and gives that ethereal vocal the intelligent backdrop it deserves.
‘New Faces In The Dark’ hints at its beginning that it won’t be a perfectly shaped riffstorm of techy nu-metal bounce, but that’s what it is. Mostly. And ‘mostly’ is a caveat that’s required through so much of I Let It In And It Took Everything.
The longest song is ‘Screaming’, a winding Morenian whistlestop tour of all the touchpoints that puts paid to any lingering notion of Loathe as a basic tech metal outfit, and ‘Is It Really You?’ is a masterful modern ballad that thumps home the point once and for all.
‘Gored’ is all about crunch and measured aggression, not least from the feet of drummer Sean Radcliffe. But it’s no display of gratuitous noise; it’s much smarter than that.
‘Heavy Is The Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts’ starts off like Conjurer playing a Loathe song and then expands into a head-nodding, arse-wiggling celebration of darkly catchy metal.
The penultimate song proper, ‘A Sad Cartoon’, is where this album best marries its melodic, ghostly nature with the bite that’s made Loathe such a hit on the live circuit, while the title track ends the album with literally everything already mentioned in this review melded together flawlessly.
The best way to fully comprehend what Loathe have achieved here is to consider its heaviest moments and its most mellow side by side. An album with those extremes is difficult to pull off and Loathe have passed that test with flying colours.
This is a brilliant record. It gets more rewarding with every listen and I’m sure it will continue to do so for some time yet. Loathe have arrived.
I Let It In And It Took Everything is out now on SharpTone Records.