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Lago: Tyranny

Many debut albums, especially in extreme metal, begin with a big blast, a declaration of a band's commitment to power and intensity. This album does not do that. Instead, things open with a slow-building crescendo, one that builds over about 15 seconds before achieving its full effect. I don't know how deliberate this was, but I found it rather striking, especially for the first track on a debut release. Instead of demanding my attention with an onslaught of sound, the low volume forced me to make sure that I was really listening. And I was. In fact, I'm still listening now.

If the opening crescendo bothers you, let it go. Even though the volume is low, things start out just as heavy and extreme as they're supposed to. In fact, fans of death metal, especially of its uncompromising commitment to heavy bounds of rhythm and intensity, should definitely check out this album. The music fits squarely within the recognized strengths of bands like Aeon, Decapitated, Emperor, and Morbid Angel, but it also never lags into a mere amalgam of influences. Having seen Aeon recently, I can definitely picture Lago sharing the stage with those guys. Better still, these guys are writing high quality songs, the kind that more mature bands write.

The opening track, entitled "I," certainly asserts the band's presence just as effectively as that pronoun does. A statement of existence, "I" asserts individuality. As good as the opening was, though, I loved this album's last two tracks, "Reckoning" and "Pox of the Weary." To my ears, those tracks took all of Lago's strengths as songwriters and put them on display. The latter is especially interesting since it suddenly stops everything and introduces a violin solo, probably a lament on the state of humankind. It's a shining moment on this release, one that I won't soon forget.

I also want to highlight the role the guitars take in the music on this album. The band's promo materials use the term "narrative" to describe what the guitars are doing. That's not the word I would have chosen, but it'll do. Nevertheless, I think I understand the point behind thinking in terms of narrative. There are moments when the guitars rise above the heavy back end and sing out with a brightness and quality all their own. That could represent a narrative of some sort. It could also represent a guide, one who takes us through the chugging and the chaos toward temporary safety. I don't want to put too much emphasis on the guitars, but I think listeners will agree that they definitely stand out as highlights on this album. I don't want anyone to think I've blown off the other musicians—they are no less intense and no less technically proficient. This is a solid debut.

Track Listing:
1. I
2. The Tyranny of Men
3. Father of All
4. Concede to Oblivion
5. Coming Cataclysm
6. Bring to Ruin
7. Reckoning
8. Pox of the Weary

Added: May 20th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1744
Language: english

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