The first thing that strikes you about this album is the widely varying track lengths that range from a couple of minutes to fourteen which matches the massively fluctuating styles the band has constructed within the six compositions on this third album by the Finnish death metallers. Everything about this album is convoluted, the dramatic sense of foreboding that is ingrained into the songs whether the song is short or long is something the band has magnificently carved into every second.
‘Strange Nebula’ opens the album with an intense riff and eeriness that permeates into the drum work and threading hook that meanders through the percussive highlighting. There is a chaos initially that is tempered when the vocals kick in as the song reveals a technical prowess that almost goes unnoticed because of the harsh brittling of the speed of the song to the point of progressiveness. The song flows through phases of riffing bursts before punctuating with deft lead breaks and atmospheric deathly posturing that is claustrophobically intense.
Shorter and possessing a bleaker riff is ‘Beings’ the isolationist like style is bereft before the song shifts to a Morbid Angel like grittiness and a very fine catchy piece. The abrupt plunge into a crevasse of sludginess is super cool, chaotically controlled as the isolated guitar returns to re-focus the songs bereft aura producing a blackness on the fringes. At first I thought the two minutes of ‘Portraits’ was going to be an interlude but it isn’t as the cleaner vocal is spoken with acoustic guitar that has a melancholic style that gradually intensifies and splices into ‘Cauldron Of Souls’ brilliantly. The opening riff is excellent, the piercing shrillness really drills into you as the song develops towards a cool buzzsaw riff. The vocals take on a different tone here too, not quite clean but not your typical growl either as the guitar work continues its meandering progressive technicality. There is bitterness to this song that creates an almost industrial leaning caused by the mechanised drum work which is repetitive but highly effective.
The album closes with the monstrous epic fourteen minutes of ‘Monolithic Abysssal Dimensions’ whose track title matches the songs behemoth compositional strains. As you’d expect the track starts up with atmospherics with guitar work and bass nimbly creating a haunting backdrop texturized by cymbal work to produce a framework that is cinematic before the explosion of blasting malfeasance. There is a scorched blackness to the song, its inhumanity is pulverizing as the song unfurls a frenzied approach via the drum work before a sublime sweeping double bass cascade rains down into the song. Again the vocals have that cleaner style that I particularly like about this album as the song veers into an obliterating nihilism, that sense of ruthlessness before the song plummets into unnerving voids where guitar hooks manifest from nowhere producing palpable horror. The myriad of changes that this song has few bands have on their entire albums as the seamless savagery is saturated with endless riffs and tempo deviations making this track a fantastic finale to the album.
Lantern’s third colossal slab of artistry channels the listener down paths of utter horrifying dread leaving the listener in total shell-shocking malignancy that you’ll never return from.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)