Artist: Lake of Blood
Album Title: Heed the Primal Calling
Label: Milkweed Records
This is the first EP from Lake of Blood, an American band playing atmospheric black metal.
The sound on this album is relatively clear. The rhythm guitars have just enough distortion to nicely compliment the lead guitar, which has a cleaner tone. The vocals are rasped, and are mostly understandable, which is always welcome. The drumming is varied and solid, and I especially like the cymbal work. The drums sometimes get washed out during the blasting sections, though, as does the bass... I found myself wishing that they'd put the latter a lot higher in the mix.
On "Heed the Primal Calling" Lake of Blood combine Xasthur-style blasting sections with heavy riffing and solos, broken by occasional minimalistic parts. The songwriting here is quite varied, with plenty of sudden changes and tempo adjustments. For the most part, the transitions sound good, if rather abrupt, and the individual guitar parts are memorable and strong. The band's use of active, layered riffs helps lend interest to the blasting parts -- nice to see a band which rejects the usual "play one riff for half an hour" atmospheric black metal formula. The layered sections on "Heed the Primal Calling" are especially great, with excellent complementary guitar work. The slower parts also have plenty of power, especially the ending section of "Lake of Blood", which uses ringing, triumphant guitar to great effect.
This album ought to please fans of Xasthur, Weakling, and Drudkh, but it'll also appeal to those who like the older, riff-based black metal style. If you're looking for something that has both epic atmosphere and solid guitar work, Lake of Blood is a great choice. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Heed the Primal Calling", "Lake of Blood"