Thunderously industrial sounds resonate. An alarm is going. I think Lento are telling us that they’re very heavy. This band from Rome promises us a mesmerising, apocalyptic and mystical journey with their fourth album.
There is no time for breath to be taken. Wave upon wave of deep grooves descend upon us. Vocals would be pointless as they couldn’t match the sheer weight of this experience. Technical patterns abound, but there is shape and more weight. I’m not sure what journey we’re on but it’s a heavy one. I like the way that Lento indulge in Zappa-like experimentalism and anarchy. I am less keen on the repetitious hammering which characterises the end of “Some Disinterested Pleasures”. Unexpectedly we then drift into a cosmic world. There’s been no sign or suggestion of this. The shapes, which are important to Lento judging by the sleeve work, drift by in the cosmic darkness. The thunder returns. “A Gospel of Resentment” has a progressive style to it, but it is no less violent or turbulent than what has gone before. Symphonic waves recreate the cosmic feel. The guitar strikes a mystical chord with the winds whistling. By “Last Squall Before the Crack” we are firmly drifting in the ether.
An explosion marks the aforementioned crack. Purposeful doom is the order but there is progression and it as ever violent and stone-heavy. The mould is hammered out. Lento cannot be accused of lacking purpose or embracing compromise. “Cowardly Compromise” is ironically the title of the track. “In Itself” has a faintly human touch in its suggestion of emotion but all the time there’s a tool tapping away. “Self Conviction or Belief” restores the power and the machine-like assault.
From nowhere there is a lush, suggestive passage. For the first time the introduction of “Let Bygones Be Bygones (A Grievance)” takes us into an immensely sad and wondrous world. I liked this dreamy track. The contrast comes again in the form of “A Matter of Urgency” whose sludgy tones punch holes in our battered psyche. Calm takes over as the album drifts away finally into dreamy melancholic gloom.
As we lurch from one dark world to another, I had no real sense of the journey I was making, where it was from, where I was going or where I was. It would be incorrect however to say that “Fourth” is a series of disconnected sounds and images. Indeed it is the portrayal of a moody and atmospheric artistic world, one of both cosmic and violent scenes and one which has powerful impact.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)