lantanaquamara aren’t angry. They will annihilate you anyways. Enjoy it.
Why so angry?
Any fan of extreme music has no doubt been asked that question. Why are extreme music fans so put upon for their fandom? Really for people whose tastes run exclusively bland, a better question might by, “why the interest in interchangeable romance?” or “why so fascinated by dudes talking about their junk?”
Perhaps the question irritates because there is plenty to be angry about. Brain dead reality stars with nuclear codes. Christians who just want to pay a mega priest 10% of their income in order to turn their backs on the needy without guilt.
There’s plenty to be angry about, but you don’t have to be an angry person. Quite the opposite. While occasionally extreme music can pick you up, it may actually be a calming experience. Perhaps it’s a way to separate; a way to externalize those things going on in our lives that could make us angry, and those things going in the world that should make us person angry.
That anger isn’t good for daily life. We all know that we probably won’t keep our jobs if we reply to irritating client inquiries by using a death metal growl and threatening disembowelment. Nevertheless, no matter how Zen we might be, it is difficult to deny that there are irritants in the world. Perhaps that’s where the anger goes. Your serene co-worker might be so calm because she’s getting down to extreme metal instead of shouting down goof-ball clients.
Oddly though, lantanaquamera don’t sound angry per se. They make intense, heavy music, but they don’t have an aggrieved, woe-is-me sense of being wronged. Theirs is not an emotional, crumbling of control sort of rage. Perhaps they tap into a kindred sense of, “we’re not angry people, but there are things to be angry about.”
The sense of control is apparent from the first moments of “Delonix Regia”. Synths and glitchy noises dominate the mix. The vocals come in without melody, but not in the rhythmic cadences of rap. It is hushed poetry backed by music. Stabs of distorted guitar are used sparingly, for carefully controlled effect, not bludgeons. They foreshadow. They build tension. And then, when it’s time, the band UNLEASHES. The vocals are hard, the tempo accelerates, but the synths never quiet down. Synths share the mix even in the loudest moments.
The dominant genre here is probably post-metal. Another way of phrasing it would be aggressive post-rock with harsh vocals and a dash of hardcore. The band nails it in their own description, they’re in the same ballpark as Envy and Isis (the band, obviously). In fact, “Meteor Shower” draws more from hardcore than metal. It is the most blistering track on the album. The high velocity song, with harsh vocal trade-offs, is thrilling. The breakdown is beautiful rather than mosh-inducing. It also features the only moments of clean singing on the album.
The album closer, “A Florid Observatory” is something different. It is all haunted mansion and doomed romance, metal-style. Like many bands before them,the band takes its inspiration from minor key classical works like “Toccata and Fugue D Minor”. Unlike other bands, they’ve blended it into metal without going cheesy.
In the end, a better adjective for lantanaquamara than “angry” is “intense.” They don’t go for loud-noise-neanderthal intensity (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Rather they are master strategists. Every sound has a purpose. Melody balances aggression, tension balances release. They are more like surgeons than stoners in their precision attack.
So don’t get angry and go on the attack, let lantanaquamara do it for you.