Lamassu – Into the Empty

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: Self-released
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://lamassuband.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-empty
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/LamassuBand/

Tracklisting:

1.) Chokehold Companion
2.) Flow
3.) Killing Someone
4.) Control
5.) Failed
6.) Under the Watch of a Crow
7.) I Die

Band line-up:

Chris Fisher – Lead vocals, guitar
Matt Dawkings – Lead guitar, back-up vocals
Nick Rad – Drums
Ant Smith – Bass (recorded)
Al Cooke – Bass (live)

Review:

“Into the Empty” is the debut album of Melbourne-based doomsters Lamassu, and a fine offering they have for their full-length introduction to the world.

As that opening line indicated, Lamassu are doom-peddlers at the core, specifically a brand somewhere between classic doom metal and stoner metal. It certainly has plenty of the meandering, swirling riffs of good stoner metal, but there’s also a crispness amid all the fuzz, and an ominous, at times crushing darkness to the atmosphere, both of which speak of deeper, doomier roots.

Another distinct aspect (and major positive point) to the album is Chris Fisher’s vocals. Right away, they call to mind Chris Cornell’s evocative Soundgarden vocals (a comparison not lost on the band themselves, I’m sure). They’re powerful, but carry a certain softness, a sense of intimacy and even vulnerability closely associated with grunge or alt. metal. There’s still the air of epicness suited for doom metal, but this is done alongside that closeness, somewhat similar to While Heaven Wept.

Indeed, “Flow” right away reminds of some of Alice in Chains’ heavier numbers with its rough, gritty catchiness, and “Under the Watch of a Crow” reminds of Jerry Cantrell’s masterful riffing. This one also has some of the album’s most interesting lyrics, speaking of a doctor, friends laughing (as if unaware of the character’s situation), a shadow of death hanging over, and the repeated statement that, “You never thought that you’d die”. It all conjures thoughts of mortality and its inescapable nature.

Album closer “I Die” is also a real highlight, opening with a deliciously grim bass before really getting into its stride with yet another riff that’s memorable in that wonderfully doomy way bands like Isole or Pentagram are so good at. It sways, it grooves, it stomps and strides and crushes.

All told, “Into the Empty” is an absolutely solid offering of stoner and alternative-tinged doom metal. It has a great tone to it, knows just how to craft memorable riffs and songs, and speaks of a lot of promise for the future.

Review by:

Kieron Hayes

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