band: Lento album: Icon year: 2011 genres: post-metal origin: Italy
LENTO E POTENTE
I know what you’ll think after reading the genre “post-metal” as I cruelly labeled this album. Sure you have in mind another copy of Neurosis’ sludge metal riffs, long ambient passages, aggressive guttural vocals and melodic clean guitars ornamenting all around. “Post-metal” is, in fact, for lots a cruel and not understood term. Whereas others rather to use the expression “atmospheric sludge metal” some other bands are not clearly defined by this since masters of sludge metal Eyehategod do not come into mind by listening to them. Thus, one can find awfully good bands inside the “post-metal” circles. These last years we have been witness to the growing of this style. And I can tell you that this band, named Lento, is about to become into one of the great names in the genre, since they’ve just forged their own style and had risen from the sea of post-metal acts out there, to incorporate a new approach to typical metal frameworks.
Lento is based in Rome, they’ve actually released two full-length albums back in 2007. Lento is a five-piece band whose line-up calls to attention by featuring three guitarists and nor a vocalist. I never miss a three-guitar band, since it is almost guaranty of a wide guitar effects spectrum and/or a complex technique on them as well as good composition duty. Furthermore, an instrumental band will always depend on how well composed are the guitar lines.
Lento’s latest creation has just been released this year. It is entitled “Icon”. As you can imagine, by the fact of the absence of vocals, this album will sound clearly similar to Pelican. Moreover, I find it closer to their “Australasia” era than to their new stuff. As the name of the band suggest it, the sound of “Icon” can be compared to a huge mastodon that slowly crushes everything on his way. However, although this description draws into a doom metal band, the sound of Lento is more complex and it’s not based on slowness at all. Here drums play a quite important rule. They are direct and multifaceted and so are the guitar riffs too. The structure of Lento’s sound becomes complex and entwined as they vary the moods of the developed ambiance. It is a cave with different passageways, lots of chambers and a considerable amount of darkness. So, you will find ambient tracks, like opening “then” that creates the mysticism at the entrance of the cave. Nonetheless, keyboards don’t appear at main songs. All atmospheres are created by different guitar effects that please my expectations for the three-guitar band. They are heavy and crushing riffs that reach the status of drone metal in several moments. The low tone in guitars attached to the technical intentions in some extracts reminds me to Meshuggah’s djent style, although, dare I say, this album has nothing to do with djent. Lento doesn’t fear to math approach in the guitars, you will hear some clean guitars in lines that sound similar to The Dillinger Escape Plan strange melodies. This is notable in the song “Hymn”. This kind of interaction between guitars let the listener to be unaware of what is to come. Here, where no vocals intervene, are the guitars the instrument that seems to share a conversation. You can even taste some dream-pop style guitars in the song “Throne”, the beautiful echo of this technique is followed by some wordless whispers which I think was a good idea of Lento for this track.
The album flows in such a way that you forget about the existence of a “forward” or “stop” button. Songs are short, about 3 minutes each one, letting the sound to unfurl out. The trip reaches a violent chamber at track 9 “Icon”, where drums and riffs speed up. This kind of uptempo elements are not common in the genre. With the distortion and feedback in the guitars a blast like this sounds extremely powerful. I love this smashing moments, especially the one included in the song “Hymen”, some of the best seconds in the album.
Another good thing about this release is the dark atmosphere that surrounds it. This goes further there than Pelican’s songs, that’s one of the reasons, Lento is far from being a clone of that wonderful band. I’m not only talking about the ambient tracks, but several passages whose melodies on clean guitars and feedback effects will remind us that there is no light in this cave. Some may call the final riffs from “Dyad” as horror-driven guitars. Also the closing moment of the song with the album title is kind of scary.
I have one only problem with this album: it is too short. Just 37 minutes of this haunting music. Lento have developed their own style, with well fixed roots in post-metal, which makes them, in my opinion, an indispensable band in the collection of the genre. Some people have already named them “the new Pelican”. Personally, I think this album is much more effective that many in the scene. There are lots of instrumental sludge bands, North (first EP) and Capricorns come to my mind for example, but, although they are different each other, I can ensure that Lento has also its own style. Check out this album, you’ll not be disappointed.