Canadian group Loviatar delivers their self-titled album as an exploration of post-metal dipped in Scandinavian mythological folklore, illustrating a feel within progressive metal that is so powerful and gripping to listen to, and yet wholly unique. This type of prog-metal/post-metal is a fresh take on Doom and Stoner that is not as abundant as it ought to be. Perhaps you were taken by their reminiscent sound and nostalgic taste of Isis meets Mastodon, but there is much more to Loviatar than that.
The sound that you initially get when you listen to the record might remind you of something down trotting and a little bit more post-metal than the average progressive metal listener might be used to. As you listen to it, you may find yourself consumed by the mythological oriented sounds, as some folk-metal bands of the past have shed their influence on them; some very conceptually immersive progressive bands, whose lyrics really stand the test of time, are musically and lyrically similar to Loviatar. They create a poetic structure for the scenery you might find in their lyrics, and the beauty and coloration behind it all renders a mystical initial impression.
For starters, I found it was powerful to be sucked in by the Mastodon-like feel, as well as their their massive Isis-like sound, and yet there was something all on their own side of Doom. Their sound is not necessarily totally contrived, as you might even hear some other elements of earlier progressive metal from 90s bands such as Katatonia, early Opeth, and especially Isis.
NORSE MYTHOS AND THE ROAD TO LOVIATAR
I would give this band a massive round of applause for the dimensions in their sound as a band that has evolved not only from a production standpoint, but also a conceptual and songwriting standpoint. Their harmonies and songwriting structure have simply graduated to a much more mature level. From their previous efforts you can tell that their vibe has always been the same, a respectable anecdote that some bands don’t typically have. But in this particular context, the band has learned who they are and they’re not afraid to show that they’re very skilled at conquering that particular style that they embellish. You may hear that their sound has not necessarily evolved into something completely different from their past records, with the typical genre change or something that denotes a traditional change out of the skin, but what you might hear is a graduation in punctuation of what they have been gearing themselves towards. The mythological-influenced and folkloric sound behind their Doom metal is more like a skin that allows them to flex their muscle within a realm of songwriting they feel very comfortable in.
AMIDST THE SOUND OF SEAFARING
This album is a masterful display, if what you are looking for is post metal wrapped in a sheet of Stoner/Doom metal and something that reminds you very much a conceptual exploration record. If you want to sit back and just listen to good old chill Doom metal, this is the album you want to put in right now. My only contrivance with the record is that it is not long enough, which is saying a lot considering their massive epic, “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues”.
“Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues”, stands almost alone as the centerpiece and mountain that tops it all off. This record is beautifully attached to a song that wonderfully sums up their sound, and hold tenure as an epic should. If you listen to the first half (side) of the record, you might hear one whole world of music in their scope that truly identifies their reach as a Doom band with progressive roots. On the other hand, “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues” is a masterpiece of a song that capitulates their sonic clarity and depth. Reading their lyrics, you may take away from it there is almost a rustic Greek play in the background. I definitely was more astounded by the final track to Loviatar than I expected. A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful record, and extremely deep.
Loviatar lends itself to be a very immersive concept, beautifully written lyrics and sensational harmonies that really suck you in with pseudo-motifs. Enjoy this record with the volume turned all the way up! If there is something that stands out about this bad, it’s that their direction is unwavering and they are simply improving with each new record. I cannot wait to see what comes next from Loviatar. Loviatar is deep, massive and truly more colorful than their post-metal sound may suggest.
Notable Tracks: “Nascent (Stygian Wyrm Part I)”; “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues”
FFO: Isis, Mastodon, Katatonia, Celtic Frost, Intronaut