Loss of Self - 12 MinutesLoss of Self

12 Minutes

01. Paradise Overgrown
02. Isolt
03. Twelve Minutes
04. There Must be Great Wisdom with Great Death
05. ( )
06. The Free Intelligence
07. The Inheritance (Demo Track Remastered)
08. The Mind; It’s Form and Function (Demo Track Remastered)
09. Seidlitz (Demo Track Remastered)

[09/02/13]
[The Flenser]

Black metal in the year 2013 is a bleak affair. With an overabundance of American black metal bands trying to reinvent the genre with a sub-genre called “Cascadian” black metal – not realizing they’re just aping the same sounds that were done before them nearly 20 years ago – and far too few “real” black metal bands making anything half original, the genre has been in a state of stagnation for quite awhile — with the exception of a few outliers who have utilized the genre sparingly in conjunction with other sounds (e.g. Ihsahn). The Australian underground black metal project, Loss of Self, while not wholly new, brings some much needed enthusiasm and broader range of appeal to a genre in desperate need of revitalization.

The core aspect of Loss of Self’s sound is, of course, the tremolo picking, blasting beating, and depressive nature of typical black metal. Harsh screams ring out from the vocalists mouth in an indecipherable raucous, done in such a way to elicit something more than just mild entertainment, while the drums are a wonderful mess of double bass fury, going full blast before laying on some typical black metal blast beats. The guitars are tools that whine and pierce the listeners ear with cold precision. It’s austere, and feral, like dark foreboding music should be, even if it is a bit mundane.

However, the band take a turn for the better with their upbeat, saccharine post-punk sounds, much like this year’s heavy hitter Sunbather, from the band Deafheaven. But where that band failed to properly utilize those sounds as more than just a padding for their regurgitation of sound from their debut, Loss of Self fully envelope their style in this heady, light hearted display of sound. Beautiful and upbeat guitar melodies play out over the usual tremolo picked riffs of black metal styling. The contrasting tones bring a new level of density to the black metal template. It’s soothing, and somber all at the same time.

Another thing really benefiting this band  is their song length. Some of the sounds on Loss of Self do echo that of the American black metal scene, with the post-metal stylings of cascadian black metal, but where all those bands fall short is their inability to be succinct or clear-minded in the stories they are trying to tell through their music. With the majority of the genre featuring full length albums with most songs being between nine and fifteen minutes. Unfortunately the majority of these bands don’t necessarily know how to write songs of that length, and the quality of music suffers drastically, and it all becomes a mess of sound that has no clear direction or meaning. Loss of Self don’t fall prey to that, with none of their songs even going past the four minute mark. Everything is concise and beautifully executed, and with the shorter song lengths every individual song feels much more important to the overall feel of the album.

12 Minutes, despite its misleading name, is a great half hour of music that really puts black metal in a more positive light than a lot of other bands have been able to do this year. With upbeat post -punk melodies overlaying typical black metal riffs and passage, feral vocals, and some concise songwriting, 12 Minutes is a wonderful little album, and definitely worth a listen. It should also be noted that the three closing tracks are all re-recordings from last year’s demo EP, and they exude something far more primal than the rest of the EP — particularly ‘The Inheritance’ — while still feeling right at home on 12 Minutes. The pummeling you’ll receive from ‘The Mind; It’s Form and Function’ will be something to latch onto and remember for quite some time.

Loss of Self – 12 Minutes gets…

3.5/5

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