Release DetailsLABEL Pragmatic Releases
RELEASED ON 2/1/2010
posted on 6/2010 By:
Immense talent and technicality seem to be an unfortunate pair. For a while there, it seemed like every other death metal band wanted to be a third-tier cousin of Necrophagist. There is but one Muhammed Suicmez, and we found that out in short order. Of course, it will take declining sales for labels to grasp that so many bins littered with the likes of The Faceless, Beneath the Massacre, Augury, etc. will continue to plague the few record stores that still exist. Thankfully, where those bands continue to push (i.e. unnaturally force) the technical and more brutal side of others that came before them like the above-mentioned Necrophagist and Anata, Locusta grab hold of the more progressive component while still considering the concept of, you know, actual songwriting.
This is base, but the first thing that grabbed my attention about this self-titled debut was the cover art. The Roger Ebert living inside me wanted to give this thing at least a crooked smile and a thumbs up based on the fact that it doesn’t come in some 3D, computer-rendered package. If the band were trying to capture the earthy, dark and almost somber tone of the record itself they certainly succeeded.
Earthy, dark and somber are fitting but imperfect descriptors. Combining technical death, progressive and black metal without losing footing is not an easy thing to accomplish. Nor is it an easy thing to capture in words. The longer tracks, such as the epic and sprawling “2012” and “Masters Ethereal,” are particularly exemplary of this strange ability to switch pace and rhythm cohesively. Where some bands might get carried away with a diddly solo or let the drummer blister away at the expense of melody, Locusta have a firm understanding that these parts should serve the aesthetic of the song. What that means is that no matter how drastic a change in pace from one passage of a song to the next, there’s a recognizable pattern weaving through all.
Locusta are notably good at spotting tasty riffs and threading them appropriately without reaching a milking point. You hear that strongly with songs like the title track (around 1:30) and “Mutiny” (1:35). These happen to fall most often immediately before the proggier parts, so the melody really breaks through here and carries over well into the length of the track.
Just two flaws come to mind. First, the drum sound is too tinny. A fuller, more robust production would have given the drums more life. It hurts to hear what would otherwise be an excellent component of this band brought down by a few knobs. Secondly, Locusta doesn’t cater enough to their prog tendencies. I really loved “2012” most of all, and as it happens it is one of the more progressive sounding tracks on the album. The pounding rhythm and epic feel was too damn good to these ears to not have been a greater part of the album’s sound. Alas, these Ohioans are young and this is but their first stab at a full-length.
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