Loch – Veggies, Peace, And Metal

Environmentalism as a theme in heavy metal has always been of interest to me. It is both completely logical yet strangely ironic; at one a perfect match with the themes and ideologies of such music and yet almost entirely opposed to its aesthetic. So when I encounter one of the (surprisingly few) bands that incorporates such a theme, it always piques my interest in what they might sound like. Loch, an Oregon-based melodic death metal three-piece, is such a band, and I must say that their debut ‘Veggies, Peace, And Metal’ demo is most certainly a though-provoking one.

After all, what the hell is one supposed to think from the cover art? I can hardly think of a more bizarre juxtaposition of elements: thorny brutal-death style logo over grease-filtered monochromatic landscape, wrapped up with a peace sign and the demo’s title in a cuddly hippie font. Perhaps even more notable is that not one of these elements even remotely lets you in on what the music within is like. That content is in a rather strange, slightly thrashy style of melodic death metal with just a pinch of grindcore influence. Dual high-low vocals add an extra depth to the proceedings, and the riffing is pretty uniformly good throughout the five tracks present here.

Production is pretty sub-par, to be honest. It sounds very much like a rehearsal room recording, so drums and vocals drown out the crude tone of the guitars pretty frequently. Solos of surprising technicality, though, burst through the sheen of clutter periodically, delivering a stirring, passionate quality to the music. The performances here are capable yet hesitant, as if they are attempting to thrust blindly into the dark but are still a tad reserved. This isn’t quite necessary, as material like the lead on the title track (which actually dominates over half of the song’s length) speaks for itself with its somewhat clumsy but honest grandeur. Enjoyably enough, solos seem to start off quiet and unsure, but steadily gain in intensity and passion as they develop.

The most interesting material here, though, is probably the dual acoustic pieces ‘Efflorescence’ and ‘Reflorescence’, bearing a high resemblance to 60’s style folk rock. The sandwiching of such violence between them seems almost schizophrenic in tone; as if the middle three tracks are the vitriolic statements against the destruction of our environment, while the beginning and end are the simple enjoyment of nature.

While the material here is still a bit unformed, ‘Veggies, Peace And Metal’ is a good start for this band. With an improved production and greater union between concept and aesthetic, I could see Loch being an excellent artist very soon.

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~ by noktorn on April 10, 2007.

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