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Lantern – Dimensions

Lantern
Dimensions
by Nathan Dufour at 07 August 2020, 6:05 AM

Prior to this album, I had never heard of LANTERN. Admittedly, I was anticipating an illuminating experience. The press sheet says that the band hails from Finland, so there is at least a tacit expectation of the overall sound even before hitting play. An expectation of sorts also rises based on the label heralding these lightbringers, with Dark Descent Records being ever reliable for melodeath and adjacent genres. Let there be light.

Kicking in right away, “Strange Nebula” gets the proceedings going with a not unwelcome, slightly muddy mix to the overall sound. The vocals have a ton of echo on them, not unlike MIDNIGHT, lighter VADER, or similar bands mining the vein of OSDM these days. But what stands out to me most is the lead work on guitar. It isn’t flashy, but it is incredibly effective; pick slides galore and a few dive bombs. The drums, in spite of the production, really pack a punch, especially in the tom work, which is deep and warm. The solo section is clean and quite melodic. Though not squarely a revival act, LANTERN is captivating my interest for sure.

Up next, we have “Beings,” which sees LANTERN playing with atmosphere with some psuedo trem picks before hammering away with snare hits and an almost black metal feel as the song progresses. Although I can see the idea overall, this song doesn’t grab me quite so much. Something about the syncopation of the beats is off to me, and I am sure it is meant that way. Onward, to brighter things. Third track, “Portraits”, is a real head scratcher; trying to be a death metal love song or at least a ballad. I’ll take GRAVE for that, thanks. The sad sack melodies seem out of place in the face of the opening tracks and, at six tracks long, LANTERN can’t afford filler, which is what this song seems to be. It’s a hot dog, and I want a smokie.

Cauldron of Souls” would make a great band name. I’ll have to look into that. I am reminded immediately of IRON MAIDEN in the lead work here (and that is not a bad thing). Then, full on VADER worship kicks in: big, big riffs with subtle blasts and an overarching vocal performance (more on that later). Not bad, but not really memorable. Admittedly, this style itself is experiencing a glut right now, or maybe I have just heard too much at this point? It isn’t bad, but doesn’t stick to the ribs.

Speaking of the vocals, the band mentions the “one of a kind vocals” of main man Necrophilos. First off, no, this is death metal with a trad metal twist. The vocals are supposed to sound exactly as they do on this album and they don’t really stand out amongst the myriad of other acts playing the style. Where LANTERN, umm, shines though, is in their ability to write exceedingly memorable lead guitar parts, earworms that are guaranteed to stick in your head, making you wonder “who played that?” in about 6 months when they cycle back through a synapse.

Speaking generally about a specific, “Dimensions” is a solid effort from an experienced group who know their sound and their audience. That audience is me about 50 percent of the time, so I can see revisiting LANTERN the next time I need to see a little bit better around this niche in an already niche genre.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability:  6
Production:  8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Strange Nebula
2. Beings
3. Portraits
4. Cauldron Of Souls
5. Shrine Of Revelation
6. Monolithic Abyssal Dimensions
Lineup:
Necrophilos – Vocals
Cruciatus – Lead/Bass Guitar
St. Belial – Rhythm Guitar
J. Poussu – Drums
J. Noisehunter – Live Bass
Record Label: Dark Descent Records
     


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Edited 01 October 2020
 

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