01. Hyperstatic Forge
02. Imitation Ruin
03. Vortice Of Malady
06. Metabolic Pathways
07. The Glacial Body
08. Individuation (Telos)
In the murky realms of developmental psychology, ‘individuation’ is the process by which a person becomes his or her true self – that is to say, when the myriad actions, experiences, thought processes, kind acts and dick-moves coalesce with the innate elements of the psyche to become a coherent whole. It’s what makes you a person, dummy!
It’s an apt title then, because I feel that Individuation – the third release (and second full-length) by Hertfordshire post-metal band Latitudes – is the product of a similar process: years of formation both in the studio and on the road that have combined to form a being of the highest magnitude; a Dalai Lama of pitch-perfect post-metal principles, or a Buddha of girthy metal goodness, if you will.
Individuation oozes the kind of swagger I believe all great post-metal should: like the power and conviction of ex-ISIS frontman Aaron Turner’s vocals right from the get go on 2004 release Panopticon‘s ‘So Did We‘, or the haunting dichotomy of The Matador on their 2011 debut Descent Into The Maelstrom. The riffs pummel with a primal intensity, whilst the lead parts hover in and around them, creating something equal parts crushing and emotional. Part of this second quality comes from the cameo from former Eden Maine vocalist Adam Symonds. His falsetto lends an almost spectral quality to the vocal passages, which are much more prevalent than on previous album Agonist, on which said vocals debuted. This is a welcome step-up, and allows a certain familiarity to form, which maybe didn’t for me on their purely instrumental tracks.
This is, of course, flavour added to the band’s already impressive musical chops. On a personal note, I’ve seen Latitudes more times than I care to remember – never as headliners, but several times a year when, as they do so tirelessly, they head out to support other members of the British scene – and every time they’ve taken to the stage I’ve enjoyed the hell out of them. They’re one of those bands that like to dial things up to really-fuckin’-heavy, and bash out some great-sounding metal as if it weren’t no thang.
Whilst there aren’t a plethora of overtly innovational ideas here, that’s not really what Individuation is about. Every band goes through much the same in the way of growth, and following the comparisons we drew from the album’s title, you either make it and become a fully-fledged person who is able to eat without stabbing themselves in the cheek with a fork and limit their digestive output to the porcelain throne…or you hear voices in your head and stab OTHER people in the cheek with your fork. It’s a process from which Latitudes have graduated with honours here, and I feel like they are truly hitting their stride as musicians. I’m actually struggling to remember the last proper great post-metal album that came out – certainly this year – and certainly one that is so damn catchy as this.
Latitudes – Individuation gets: