Normally this bonehead bangs fast and furiously with kvlt black metal of death in very limited formats but with Landskap they have something quite different and have got their doom, psyche and rock head on. If you live in London there is little doubt you will have encountered members of this band in other outfits before. They are often found playing various watering holes in Camden and beyond, or found in real ale houses or even in the gutter supping meths depending on how far away next payday is. Of the many other outfits garnered by said minstrels past and present we can mention SerpentCult, Thee Plague Of Gentlemen, Fen, Pantheist, Dead Existence, Father Sun, and Skaldic Curse which is enough to surely get you interested in Landskap and their debut platter.
Starting off with ‘A Nameless Fool’ Westwood batters in on the drums and a psychedelic sprawl emerges as it calms down. I was really shocked on first hearing vocals as had never encountered Jake Harding singing cleanly. In other bands such as Dead Existence and Centurions Ghost he has always had a feral unhinged bark but this proved he not only can turn this style on its head but he can “sing” with soul too. With the underlying keyboard work from Pantheist’s Kostos and Frederic’s thick bass work the overall impression is heavy but also completely fragrant as the whole thing wafts away over you. It’s pretty damn lush and the melody clings like a limpet as the long track unhurriedly unspools. There’s a heavy 70’s rock vibe no doubt one that would have the word “occult” attached to it for trendy purposes by some and when the track uplifts slightly and the vocals go up an octave I swear I can almost feel the ghost of Jim Morrison nodding in approval. One of two instrumental tracks ‘My Cabin In The Woods’ follows sounding like the sort of music professors with elbow patches, big facial hair and pipes would introduce a TV show to in the 70’s. It’s proggy, quirky and a bit folky and the sort of tune that Lee Dorrian would throw a spot of into one of his latter day Cathedral tracks.
‘Fallen So Far’ on the flipside of what is no doubt best appreciated on vinyl struts in and builds with a classic stoned out authentic flare about it. Again the vocals fit perfectly and the bass definition is thick and trembling designed for speaker shaking live performances (of which I will have to catch). The strings boogie on down with the organ work backing them out and this is easily solid enough to have a good old head bang to as you try decide which bands it most remind you of and I can assure you they are legion as this lot have their art and influences well and truly down. It’s quite amusing that last instrumental is To Harvest The Storm as it almost rides into it like the aforementioned Doors playing some soothing opening lines of a certain classic. It takes a while to build and when it does it peaks with heavy riffing melody that is effortlessly and dextrously jammed away with perfect precision and like a storm is battering from all sides trying to tear things down.
Don’t get caught out by the understated title here as ‘I’ is a real treasure trove of retro goodness that is well worth lending your ears to. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t do just that either as it’s free to download at the following link too.
(8/10 Pete Woods)