Latitudes are one of the most underappreciated bands within the post metal genre – if you are unfamiliar with them as a band, then before delving deeper into this review, go and give their 2009 album ‘Agonist’ a listen – it is a masterpiece. For the most part, the London five-piece have been purely an instrumental band, relying on their ability to create textured, intricate and intelligently written melodies, punctuated with soul shatteringly heavy riffs. Peppered throughout each album, of which there were three, Adam Symonds’ vocals have added an emotive and heart rending addition to the most tumultuous sections of songs – acting as a tide break when it feels as though the instrumentals are going to create their own supernova.
Album number four sees Adam come aboard as a permanent member, laying down vocals for every song featured on ‘Part Island’ instead of just a choice few. For long-term listeners of Latitudes, this could be a worrying concept – the band’s biggest focal point is how captivating they are without the need for a vocalist; many of their live performances have been without Adam, even for the songs he’s featured on. However, while the sound of Latitudes is changed slightly (also due, in part, to the departure of keyboardist Rich Harper), the instrumentals are no less of a focal point. Obviously, ‘Part Island’ was written to allow for Symonds’ vocals, and the two flow together so fluidly it’s hard to envision how they ever operated without him.
All of the spine-tingling, heart wrenching moments of the previous albums have been taken and amplified ten-fold – the end result is a little softer and more progressive sounding than before, but this is something that Latitudes have been labouring towards ever since the release of ‘Individuation’ and developed further with ‘Old Sunlight’. ‘Part Island’ sounds like Latitudes have finally arrived at where they’d like to be as a band, and while it’s completely different to where they started, they’ve never sounded tighter – this record is tangible proof that change is most definitely a good thing.
(8/10 Angela Davey)