The Cold Sun
(SharpTone Records)

Liverpool’s Loathe are all about boldness on their debut full-length. It’s a risky strategy to draft a complicated post-apocalyptic story involving multiple characters and invoke a chilling description of sleep paralysis (“Dance on my Skin”). It’s an even more dangerous proposition considering Loathe’s chosen sound. Splitting the difference between Sworn In’s nu-metalcore with darkly downtuned djent, a la Vidhjarta or From Sorrow To Serenity. Both styles are certainly played out, and to their credit, Loathe certainly go for broke on pushing their sound to the extremes. The Cold Sun is an aggressive, daring, and diverse record. While there are certainly fantastic riffs and progressions, whole stretches of the record rely more on atmosphere than wildly technical passages. Loathe incorporate industrial, eerie electronica, and flair for the progressive, which makes for an album full of surprises.

Vocal melodies are not the norm, but they are consistently excellent when they appear. Their hookiness jars with the music quite well, an unexpected siren beckoning the listener further into Loathe’s auditory darkness. Surely, The Cold Sun does grow much darker during its run time, even pulling a nice blackgaze section out on “P.U.R.P.L.E.” The album teeters toward the finish line after that excellent track, at least until the second half of the gloriously eerie “Babylon…” explodes. The interludes throughout The Cold Sun make sense to give listeners a chance to catch their metaphorical breath, but they are not particularly good or memorable.

Otherwise, and especially in the phenomenally fantastic first eight tracks, Loathe offer up a harrowing journey that is just as enjoyable as it is unique. The missteps are minor and forgivable in a debut, though some fat trimming could have resulted in an all-world EP. Loathe are the real deal, and The Cold Sun is a wonderful debut.

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