It’s good to hear that Lantern are looking to expand their horizon rather than locking themselves up in a black metal cave. I can get what’s meant by this, as whilst on the face of it, this second offering from the Finns is the dirtiest death metal you’re going to find, it occasionally takes a surprising twist and slows down or more usually takes a turn towards thrash.
Ultimately this is harsh and nasty. I am reminded a little bit of Entombed. Lantern don’t at first appear to care too much about form, or at least that’s where they’re clever because there is structure but of a sort where uncompromising sound walls mount up. The vocalist croaks out his stuff. His instrumentalists pump out deathly torment. It’s old school in style. Tracks just finish when the band feel like it, and it’s one piece of bludgeoning after another. Yet there is sophistication in the brutality as it never stands still, always seeking and finding another instrumental dark corner to explore. Sometimes it’s imperious and scornful, as it as the end of “Cleansing of the Air”. I don’t know what the “Sleeper of Hypnagog” is but it all points in the same harsh direction. And then there is a playful guitar line on “Necrotic Piphanies” before it reverts to menace and deathly type. “Necrotic Piphanies” is only four minutes long but it reeks of excitement and tension. The drum pounds as “Transmigration” fires off into a thrashing death maelstrom. Again the maturity of these musicians is on display as they enter a pulsating phase of epic tension before the harsh thrash resumes. Lantern doomily sludge their way through “Virgin Damnation” – this style suits them well – before that inexplicable modernism, the half minute cosmic-atmospheric piece which signals the penultimate track. Pointless. So the final track “Lucid Endlessness” is not cosmic-atmospheric but harsh, thrashing darkness. Razor-sharp, hostile, ugly, heavy, it is not a thing of beauty. And nor is it supposed to be. As ever it has the breaks and twists, which turn heads and make this band stand out.
I can’t describe “II: Morphosis” as a breath of fresh air because it represents musically the stalest stench of the fustiest and greyest room you’ve ever stood in. Instrumentally it has character and bursts out with some horrible stuff. It’s underground and uncompromising and worth a listen.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)