Album Review: LOVIATAR Loviatar
Formed in 2010, this Canadian group consists of frontman JD, lead guitarist Shane Whitbread, bassist Mike Bond, and drummer JP Sadek. With two previous EP releases, Widows Flame and Druid’s Curse, the four-piece will be releasing their self-titled debut LP on Prosthetic Records. It's difficult to categorize Loviatar's sound, but I would say this band primarily will attract doom fans, but also metalheads interested in proggy ambient experimentation.
While technically this album is separated into four tracks, the first three are intended to be considered as one long piece titled "Stygian Worm." Part one of the suite called "Nascent" slowly builds spacey riffs and percussion up before bulldozing into chord explosions halfway through. In an attempt to act as the cohesive glue between part one and three, "Discordant" successfully maintains the momentum with a stoner rock vibe that pummels throughout the whole piece. The last song of the trio, "Ascendant" opens with a Tool-like pace and leads to some early Baroness or Intronaut sludgy prog. And thus the three-piece "Stygian Worm" is put to a satisfying end, yet the journey has just begun.
Arriving at the final climax, all I have to say is: move over Dopesmoker! "Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues" is my new go-to sludgy, stoner anthem. And fine, while I recognize that dethroning such a monumental release as Sleep's magnum opus is clearly hyperbolic and blasphemous to say the least, I see a connection between the two and a healthy amount of progress on the latter. Loviatar's 19-minute closer doesn't quite surpass the overwhelmingly eardrum shattering riffs pummeled through the entirety of Dopesmoker, but the consistent sludge tone in "Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues" answers the question of what if Sleep embraced a more atmospheric and progressive route that many modern doom bands do nowadays.
To add even more ingredients into the analogy that Loviatar depicts a more modern version of Sleep, I would shine a light upon the group's influences from experimental acts such as My Bloody Valentine and Isis. One may struggle with such a concept considering these two groups lay on far sides of the spectrum from each other, but as one gives into the long pieces within this record, they will witness both the dreamy and post-metal attributes contained within both aforementioned acts all contained inside the doom metal parameter. As I pointed out earlier, it becomes difficult to push Loviatar into a specific subgenre as their lengthy jams borrow traits from all over the field, which I consider the band's greatest strengths.
The first three pieces are strong prog-doom pieces, but the ending composition is the true masterpiece contained on the LP. To be honest, it wasn't a walk in the park to fully analyze such a composition. I feel as if one must listen to a piece of music at least a few times before even scratching the surface of what is being conveyed, which in this case, took about a solid hour. Where as most may find such an act to be laborious, I discovered more intricate layers with each listen and I'm confident that there are more waiting in further listens. Loviatar's debut has a seemingly endless amount of stylistic and musical creativity within these compositions and the ending result is that of a immersive and compelling record.