Album Title: Subterranean Efflugence
The production on "Subterranean Efflugence" is thick and dense, heavy on the audible bass. The cavernous drum sound and echo effect on the vocals both contribute a lot to the feel of the album; this record really does sound "subterranean". Lantern also uses a surprisingly sharp guitar tone which constantly pulls your attention back to the riffs. This might seem contradictory, but it really works here: the leads serve to accentuate the atmosphere, and vice versa.
Perhaps that's because Lantern is so aggressively riff-based -- this record is absolutely packed with memorable guitar lines. They're distinctive and different, almost to the point of being deliberately quirky, but somehow they mesh perfectly with the occult subject matter and murky atmosphere. Likewise, the drumming is varied and interesting, never content with the obvious, and the vocals alternate between clarity and obscurity in an ear-catching, intriguing way. Unlike many releases these days, this doesn't sound like any one band; it has that odd, off-kilter feel shared by many Finnish bands, and some of the frantic solos bring Morbid Angel to mind, but Lantern are clearly doing their own thing.
"Revert the Living Into Death" is a great example. The first half of the song features a catchy guitar line and frantic, shifting riffing. Then the song breaks off only to come back in again, expanding on the theme. The repetition of "follow, journey to death!" followed by that wandering, unsettling solo is quite powerful. "Slumbering Dying Dreams" is a bit more straightforward, relying on aggressive vocals and thrashing guitar. "Those Long Perished" slows things down at first, and then combines a mid-paced lead guitar line with blasting drumming and frantic vox, creating an unsettling contrast. "Ritual Unearthing" is my personal favorite here -- the main theme is one of the best riffs I've heard in a long time, vicious yet eerie, just right for this band. The vocal delivery is equally great, especially during the dual-vocal parts!
Subterranean Efflugence is one of the best death metal records I've heard this year; I can't imagine having anything negative to say about it. Even the length (roughly 22 minutes) is perfect, especially since I can spin this over and over with no loss of interest. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Revert the Living Into Death", "Ritual Unearthing"