Thursday 4 April 2013

Lo! - Monstrorum Historia (Album Review)

lo_MH_cover_square.jpg-Lo! - "Monstrorum Historia" LP

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 22/4/2013
Label : Pelagic Records
Monstrorum Historia, album tracklisting:

1) As Above 3:23
2) Bloody Vultures 2:49
3) Ghost Promenade 4:20
4) Caruncula 3:49
5) Haven, Beneath Weeping Willows 2:34
6) Fallen Leaves 4:26
7) Crooked Path - The Strangers Ritual 1:53
8) Lichtenberg Figures 3:15
9) Bleak Vanity 4:23
10) Palisades of Fire 3:41
11) So Below (Before We Disappear) 6:42


Akin to the way a volcano can lie dormant for years before unexpectedly unleashing it’s mighty wrath on everything within reach, Sydney band Lo! kept a pretty low profile, until their thunderous debut in 2010.
Conceived in 2006 by guitarist Carl Whitbread after the disbanding of his previous band Omerata, Lo! is made up of four “old hands” of the Sydney music scene. Adrian Shapiro on bass, Adrian Griffin on drums and Jamie-Leigh Smith is the man delivering the militant vocal assault that has heads talking.
Lo! have made their presence felt by supporting local heavyweights like The Nation Blue and recently snatching sought-after supports with bands like Doomriders and post-metal giants Russian Circles.
Word travels fast, and the band’s cleverly crafted, sludge-inspired metal found it’s way to Germany and into the ears of Pelagic Records owner Robin Staps, who was quick to offer the band a deal. Early reviews coming out of Europe suggest that although Lo! follow bands like Old Man Gloom on their path down the dirt-trail of sludgy, noisy hardcore, the band has their own distinct, and fresh direction.
Whitbread explains; ”Having quite a diverse range in musical tastes (everything from death metal, to electro, to classical), I wanted to find a way to bring my favourite elements from different genres into the music, without it sounding like a blatant mish-mash of styles. The main album that really inspired me to start Lo! was Breach’s ‘Kollapse’- that album was a perfect example of a heavy band who had managed to take a wide range of ideas and influence and craft it into an audible journey”. 
Line up
Carl Whitbread - Guitar, Vocals
Adrian Shaprio - Bass, Vocals
Jaime - Leigh Smith - Vocals
Adrian Griffin  - Drums


Sydney's Lo! have got a new album out soon and it's called 'Monstrorum Historia'. A premier export of antipodean sludge to make you bang your head and pound your fists, it's the subject of this here review. Nice one, Australia.
'As Above' is a brilliant intro piece for the album and fits perfectly as a mood setter. Eerie quiet builds with sparse piano and an escalating, almost military rhythm guitar and drum sound. Then the riffs come in and we arrive headfirst at doom central. It's the opening half of a badass one-two punch that carries on with the excellent 'Bloody Vultures', which really brings the noise. Some meaty sludge riffs erupt into some righteous hardcore beats. Thunderbolt drums evoke a horseback battle. Serious shit going down, yo.
'Ghost Promenade' continues the quality laid out before it with solid gold guitar work that's just a joy to behold. Heavy, heavy droning sounds that collapse forth from the speakers and just bring a smile to any riff fiend's face. The vocals are yelled and always clear in the mix, so they never lose any of their impact in the murky depths of the sound. The bass is exactly the same and plays a vital role throughout - everything has it's part. This is a well constructed record.
'Haven, Beneath Weeping Willows' is nice and calming mid-track that will chill you out and expand your mind. It has an almost psychedelic approach and shimmers in a relaxing way. Beautiful within it's own right and not just used to split the album in two.
'Lichtenberg Figures' is just rolling heaviness, and a melting pot of styles - punk rock riffs, metal riffs, black metal drums, huge vocals - it's all here. I loved the diversity that this piece brought to the table.
'Palisades of Fire' is my choice cut of the crop though. Located at the rear end of the album, it shows that even on the home stretch Lo! are in no mood for backing off with the attack or relenting on the bombast. Epic riffs abound and are drowned in feedback at the end of the track, plus there's a breakdown that will make your toes curl. Magnificent stuff.

All in all, 'Monstrorum Historia' is a bold attempt by a young band to place themselves in the upper echelons of this field that they are making moves in. With confirmations of a support slot for Cult Of Luna in Europe and a showcase at the Mighty Roadburn festival, the sky is the limit for Lo! if they can translate the genius of this album into the live arena. I wish them all the success in the world - especially if they keep churning out gold like this. Highly recommended.
Words by : Matt Fitton
As always show your support to the band. You can buy the record here.  It is available everywhere from the 22/4/2013  Thanks to Robin from Pelagic Records for the promo.