Take a little mathcore, a little grindcore, and a lot of tech-death, and the result will be something that sounds like Huntington Beach, CA’s The Last Of Lucy. The five-piece band will release their debut full-length album Ashvattha on November 17, 2017, and they offer a song called “Agarttha” as an exclusive preview for It Djents readers.
As if The Last Of Lucy’s name was not unconventional enough, their approach to tech-death is sufficiently bewildering and aleatory to justify their stylistic self-identification as mathcore. One could count at least eight riffs in the first 30 seconds of “Agarttha” and still possibly come up short. That segment uses a basic tech-death common-time riff that gets interrupted every few measures by something else – an arpeggio, another riff, a blast beat section – in a (sometimes) different time signature that lasts only one measure. A most suitable concept to show how The Last Of Lucy can use the simplest riffs to hold a groove while still noodling away, making the groove not sound like a groove at all.
And it works: “Agarttha” repeats this pattern, only the ‘baseline’ groove changes every 30 to 60 seconds. Blast beats meld into leads, or they speed-bump their way into chuggy chords that sound like the start of a deathcore breakdown. The Last Of Lucy wrote parts for this song that have lengthy tremolo picking through minor progressions. “Agarttha” ends with a start-stop passage, an old but effective trick from the techdeath playbook.
“Agarttha” is the name of a fictitious city that, according to some esoteric legends, can be found in the center of the Earth; in other words, a place that does not exist. As to what that has to do with the lyrics to this song, your guess is as good as mine or anyone else’s. While vocalist Josh De La Sol employs a vocal arsenal ranging from screechier stylings to growling, Gad Gidon and Christian Mansfield keep the riffs coming, while bassist Ricky Fregosi carries on the tech-death tradition of displaying some frenetically immodest bass playing in certain parts. But as is so defining in both tech-death and mathcore, drummer Brandon Millan leads the way, jumping from groove to blast beat to fast run and back again and making it look easy.
The Last Of Lucy promised jazz, stating that ‘there are lots of sax spots on the new album given their own sections‘. There are also ‘ambient electronic elements’ announced for the upcoming Ashvattha album, so “Agarttha” might be one of the album’s more normal moments; something scary to imagine, yet something to look forward to.