Lo! - Monstrorum Historia

Lo! - Monstrorum Historia

The first time I encountered the beast that is Sydney’s Lo! was their chaotic set at Melbourne’s HiFi Bar in support of German post metal titans The Ocean last year. Immediately after their set I bought their debut album Look and Behold, later on thoroughly enjoying being pummelled by its sheer heaviness and energy. More impressive however, was their ability to bring every drip of energy and sweat into the studio and capture it on record.

Monstrorum Historia picks up where their debut left off, every bit as sludgy and seething as their first. ‘As Above,’ the album’s brooding intro track slowly morphs into the more dynamic ‘Bloody Vultures,’ the riffs taking leafs from the books of Old Man Gloom and Converge. We are also given our first introduction to vocalist Jaime-Leigh Smith, who immediately grabs one’s attention with is ferocity and versatility. His vocals on tracks like ‘Lichtenburg Figures’ and ‘Bleak Vanity,’ especially in the more atmospheric moments are standout features on the album.

As on ‘Fallen Leaves,’ Lo! appear more than happy to slow things down, with Adrian Shapiro’s bass becoming more prominent. Smith’s vocals regress back to a deep roar, bringing to mind some of Cult of Luna’s heavier moments. In fact, the prominence of the bass in ‘Fallen Leaves’ give the track that little bit of extra punch heavy bands often lack. It’s a trait found throughout the album, a testament to the quality of its production. The two final tracks, ‘Palisades of Fire’ and ‘So Below – Before We Disappear’ see Lo! use the loud-soft changes in dynamic to full effect. The former in particular features bass work that is equal to the heaviness of a stampede, while the latter’s explosion of riffs and growls to signal the end of the album is nothing short of apocalyptic.

On Monstrorum Historia, Lo! are equally adept at tearing through fast, hardcore tracks and sludge filled heaviness, often in the same song. This ability to shift their dynamic so effortlessly is more than impressive. Monstrorum Historia is the sound of a band that has perfected their craft to the point where it easily world class heavy music.

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