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Lotan - Lotan Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 30 March 2023, 4:33 AM

In the 90’s, during the early days of the Second Wave of Black Metal, some acts started experiences into the genre. Bands as EMPEROR, SATYRICON, DISSECTION, CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR and others started to use melodies inherited of traditional Heavy Metal into their music, thus generating a usual form of what would be called Melodic Black Metal (note: no one gives a fuck if some guys are complaining or debating how Black Metal must be). The formula is still being used, and generating excellent surprises, as “Lotan”, the first offering done by the Danish quintet LOTAN. The core members of the band play as well on the Viking Metal act VANIR, and all of them had experience on their shoulders, so their journey into Melodic Black Metal domains isn’t blind. And the band’s music is personal and full of energy, but with a different feature: it’s usual that the melodies are created by the keyboards, but this quintet prefers to do the same thing solely on the guitars (just a few do so).

One can check that some touches of Viking Metal (some atmospheric parts, as some moments on “Diabolis Victor”) and Death Metal are into their music in a subjective form (as some grunts shown on “Ashera”). And the melodies that are created by the band are so easy to love that this album is really sounding great!!! The sonority used on “Lotan” is the default model: the combination of a harsh and crude approach on the instrumental tunes with a defined recording, mixing and mastering, allowing the quintet to be fully understood by the fans. But you must take care with your ears, because it’s aggressive and heavy as well.

The album bears 7 perfect songs, and those who misses the early days of the genre will love “Lotan” for sure. “Diabolis Victor” starts the album with harsh and crude aggressiveness being sharpened by excellent and darkened melodies of the guitars (and what great chorus can be heard). A bit more technical and with a slow appeal, “Ignis” is a storm of oppressive weight and with a massive rhythmic wall created by bass guitar and drums. The shifts between vocals tunes are a great feature of the hypnotic and darkened “Ashera”, another song based mainly on slow tempos that enables the melodies to flow on an easier form (but with some faster moments as well). On “Ishtar”, some guitar arrangements resemble a lot TORMENTOR’s “Elisabeth Bathory”, but without copying it (the melodies are easier again, but the chorus with this hypnotic set of riffs is amazing).

Some elements of classic Melodic Black Metal (fast drumming on the beginning, ice-like guitar riffs and arrangements) can be heard on “Servant of Yammu”, a powerful and rich in rhythmic shifts song. And the same can be said about the oppressive and nasty “The Faithless”, again presenting very good snarls of the vocals and melodic arrangements of the guitars (who create a somber and darkened sensation that chills the spine). And evoking the same spirit and elements of the early days of the second Wave of Black Metal comes “Leviathan”, a climatic and funereal song with charming and hypnotic arrangements.

Of course, “Lotan” isn’t the band’s first release (they had a collection of many singles and two EPs before it), but this album effectively puts the name of LOTAN on the radar of Black Metal fans!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Diabolis Victor
2. Ignis
3. Ashera
4. Ishtar
5. Servant of Yammu
6. The Faithless
7. Leviathan
Martin Rubini - Vocals
Phillip Kaaber - Guitars
Andy Dragsberg - Guitars
Lasse Guldbæk Jensen - Bass
Jon Schmidt - Drums
Record Label: Uprising! Records


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