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Metal hybrid that works - 75%

Lane, December 14th, 2011

I've heard their name, but have never before heard their music. Loch Vostok is a weird and catchy name for sure. It is a subglacial lake under the surface of Antarctica. Hrrrrrr... Is Loch Vostok's music colder than Immortal's eternal winter metal, or what's in store?

'Dystopium' (their fourth full length album to date) presents a band, who alloy various styles of metal, both melodic and extreme. One thing that shines above the rest, is that how much Loch Vostok at times sound like Evergrey, but not in a "copycat" way. The band's flirtings with prog metal made me think of Evergrey's 'In Search of Truth' (2001) platter, as it is similarly dark and catchy from that perspective. Sometimes the music here is technical, with finger-twisting playing and loads of tempo changes, sometimes straighter, even simplistic. Another style end is modern death/thrash in vein of many Swedish deathrashers, e.g. Darkane etc. There is a miniscule metalcore element in the band's sound, too. Other bands this reminds me of are Nevermore and Mercenary. The band can jump from a more extreme style to a calmer one in a song ('In the Wake of Humanity' being a perfect example, and why not also the title song's nursery rhyme part). Mainly the music has a dark tone to it, but 'Navigator' is a exception of this rule. The songs aren't overlong, but some could be deeper, and many of the songs feels somewhat untrimmed. This said, every song is well above average.

The clean vocals, which are a big majority here with some growled metalcore ones, are recognizable. Again, at times close to Evergrey and Nevermore, but mainly pretty individual. They aren't highly skilled, but that is of totally lesser importance. The album is not a story, even though it circles around all kinds of dystopian themes (fascist leaders, conspiracies, etc.), with nice artwork matching the themes. The lyrics are well written and may open a few eyes, too. Instrumentalists' performances are adorable and skillful. While the production is clear, it also sounds a bit "plastic". It is quite big, but missing that final stretch to be massive.

Loch Vostok have managed to build up quite a distinct sound, which isn't fractured although it's made of many a thing. It lifts the album from the grey mass into a noteworthy one, even though some of the songs are less significant. Modern metal that has not gone trendy.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)