Loch Vostok - Destruction Time Again! - 2006 - Escapi Music
1. Humanitix 2. Rebound 3. Jonestown Slumber Party 4. Xerox Nation 5. Autumn Lord 6. Destruction Time Again 7. Symbiosis 8. Falself 9. Talk 10. True Deceiver 11. Gestalt
Loch Vostok is either a crafty death metal band or a bunch of prog slackers. Either way, 'Destruction Time Again!' is a fun if not exceptional album that stands well on its own merits, but this quandary of classification will remain its most memorable aspect. Too varied to be traditional death, as well as too clean, vocally, but also too straightforward and conventional to suit the technical demands of 'progressive'.
On their debut, 'Dark Logic', there was a more prevalent prog atmosphere, in large part due to the synths and their noodling solos. 'Destruction Time Again!' is more heavily guitar-oriented, though, which reveals Loch Vostok's formulaic approach and their over-reliance on the typical, predictable riff structure (i.e. chugging along on lowest open string, brief end of phrase flourish, back to chugging). Not that it is an illegitimate approach—it, or some variation thereof, has sufficed for most Western music for centuries. It is simply that, surrounded by robust clean vocals, sweeping solos (see 'Jonestown Slumber Party' for some 80's King Crimson), and Alvaro's impressive drumming, hearing such a predictable riff approach is a disappointing Achilles heel.
Compounding this shortcoming is Loch Vostok's insistency on using the same climax approach on nearly every track. Once that climax is reached, the song is engaging, textured, and usually memorable, but for the first minutes it can be painfully thin. If only Loch Vostok would develop a more consistently full sound—their energy and ultimate impression would benefit enormously from it, because there are plenty of memorable melodies and strong song foundations to capitalize upon in 'Destruction Time Again!'. Even when the clean vocals are sketchy, which is not infrequently, their melodies are infectious and unique, especially the guest appearance of ex-Darkane/Andromeda vocalist Lawrence Mackrory. Speaking of clean vocals, there is some work to be done, particularly on Teddy's high register and guest Tina Gunnarsson. Alongside the simplistic riffing, this is the largest obstacle Loch Vostok have to overcome.
And continuing that vocals/lyrics theme, Loch Vostok have an unusual approach that is primarily casual, too casual in fact, with rare examples of poeticism. The latter angle fits them well, but the former seems at odds with their bold, atypical character.
With all this in mind, it is also important to remember that it takes an intrepid group to attempt such a concerted jack-of-all-trades effort as this. Each style Loch Vostok attempt is not necessarily unique in itself, but this particular mixture certainly is, and the band possesses the talent and foresight to blend them well. If Teddy takes the time to invest in some vocal training and a more driving, involved riff structure, Loch Vostok's third album could really be a success.
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