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TOC > Loss Angeles > Reviews > Empyreal
TOC - Loss Angeles

A creative adventure into a musical noir. - 94%

Empyreal, March 14th, 2010

Throne of Chaos, hailing from the icy waters and landscapes of Finland just as about three fourths of all popular metal bands do, have put out a very enjoyable album of fresh, inventive Power Metal tinged with progressive metal and theatrical, emotive bluesy rock n’ roll as well. The combination of that with their unmistakable Finnish polish makes for an album I can find very little fault in at all. Friends…this is Loss Angeles.

It’s just amazing how cool this is, and how I had never heard of it before when I first tracked it down late last year. Throne of Chaos, or TOC for short, apparently used to be a Children of Bodom styled band playing hyper-fluttery melodeath, and over three albums moved into…well, this. What is it? How did this blend of styles come to be? Who cares! Whatever Loss Angeles is, it is fucking cool. I just love the atmosphere on this – a smoky, desolate haze, obscuring neon lights and fur-coated women and long, narrow, cobblestone streets in a thin fog. Crystalline synths mesh with the steely, razor-tipped guitars and the light croon of the vocals to create an engaging sound with a mystique that will keep you guessing and intrigued throughout its forty-minute runtime.

Vocally, Tuomas Nieminen is pretty much spot on, and although there are maybe some places the melodies he sings could be better, it’s a minor nit-pick at best. His rich wail carries through the wall of thick guitars with a ghostly transparency, soaring as if through a sheet of clouds. Nothing on here is ever overstated or done in a way that brings it unnecessarily to the forefront of things; everything is given perfect space and room to breathe. The songwriting is just wild, with twists around every corner, never predictable. The amount of slower songs is something I find interesting, as a lesser band would make it sound dragging, but somehow TOC keep things consistent and entertaining all the way through. Every song has a rock-solid musical hook, every song fits perfectly into place. Opening with the power metal smash of “The Window,” TOC waste no time in enticing the listener to hear more. With its sonorous vocals in the chorus and shimmering chords, the song sweeps you into their noir-ish world of brawls and booze and beauty – an elegant task. It is followed oddly enough by a ballad called “Mary Lou,” which features dashing melodies and a really good chorus that will send chills down your spine. How many bands have a power ballad like this as their second song these days? I don’t know; it’s just interesting.

One thing I really like about TOC and this album in particular is their ability to make even the most simple chords and riffs count for so damn much. This is very complex music, with multiple layers to it that need many listens to fully unravel, but they never cram in any unnecessary bullshit or come off like they don’t know what they’re doing. They make simple things like the booming Deep Purple-esque riffs to “Acid Highway” or the dripping, eerie chords of “Bite the Bullet” sound enormous and relevant to the atmosphere. Witness the cold synths of “Gothamburg,” with its progressive structure, or the swirling, airy stomp of the melodies on “Blue Lady.” Even “Wait,” with its booming pop chords and catchy, streamlined chorus, is written with enough flair and style to become completely cool.

Murder, mayhem, drugs, illicit romance and revenge…the things this album thrives on, like a leech on its host. If you don’t find these themes appealing, then maybe you won’t like this album, but I do, so it’s just like icing on the cake. They are pretty much integral to the album, as it really is a better experience when you immerse yourself in that kind of mindset, with the lyrics soaking themselves into your bones like a fine wine. Do not lose yourself in booze and drugs; listen to Loss Angeles instead, and make sure to drive all the way to the end of the highway, horns ablaze, ready to experience this album in all its wonder. Let it grow on you, as it really is worth every penny, every second of time you invest.

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