Sunday, 2 March 2014

Landskap - I (2014) / 67%

The Union Jack Prog Metal pt. IV: Manscaping

Landskap (Swedish for landscape but no need to be a genius linguist to figure that out) is a new band from London, England formed by many veterans of the scene. The members are coming from established bands like Fen, Indesinence, Centurions Ghost or the excellent Pantheist. Their first album simply titled “I” is a decent slab of doom metal mixed with a big dose of psychedelic rock.

The involvement of Kostas Panagiotou (Pantheist) is pretty important to the sound of this band. His organ/keyboard parts are lush and give a good support to the heavy, slow guitars. The album, composed of only 4 tracks, including a long instrumental one at the end, is a bit on the short side , it kinda feels like an EP. Instead of releasing new stuff, Iron Bonehead will re-release this album in May. With only about thirty minutes, Landskap managed to release something decent though. Their dual guitar attack (Frederic Caure of Serpentcult, who's also playing the bass here) and a newcomer named George Pan (maybe he's a satyr!) is pretty cool and the leads are well composed. The bass playing is thick and the feedback can recall the stoner side of doom. The songs are pretty slow and thick, it's pretty busy doom with many nuances but it's nothing to call your mom about.

The fact is, this project not unlike Avatarium, feels insincere in its process. Their sound, despite being pleasant, is the trendiest the doom world is experiencing right now and we see many musicians jumping to vintage doom with keys like it's the new way to become U2's opening act. I have nothing against mixing keys with heavy doom riffs and the way they did it isn't bad, really, but it just rubs me the wrong way. What we have here is a bunch of guys telling themselves they could do an album of this particular doom tendency and maybe get to play with Blood Ceremony. I don't know, man, it just seems shallow. Compared to the other projects of these dudes, this is simply not original and it's derivative.

This is a not good reason to trash a band though, musicians are always following trends, that's just the way it is. The true reason is that their songwriting is just boring and mundane. The last instrumental song is a bore and it was hard to finish it. Jake Harding is actually a good, if not a bit generic, vocalist and getting rid of him for like a third of the album is just a bad decision since he's one of the strongest parts of the band alongside the bluesy guitar solos. The production is pretty good, quite atmospheric and rich but that's to be expected from Greg Chandler (Esoteric).

The album is free on Bandcamp so take a chance with it because it's still a good time, just not something I'll go back to. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Landskap are pretty good musicians. The three minutes interlude “My Cabin in the Woods” is soft and enjoyable, but sadly it's not about the Joss Whedon movie. I'll listen to Pantheist if I want really good doom with keys.


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