PICK OF THE WEEK: Lantern chew into death metal’s gross corpse on career highlight ‘Dimensions’

Obviously, this is also a pro wrestling site, and with the global pandemic and matches taking place with mostly no fans, there haven’t been a lot of great battles and huge moments to embrace and etch into 2020’s history. Luckily, this also happens to be a metal site, and we haven’t had that issue as there have been plenty of great records in the first half of the year to distract us.

Finnish death metal squadron Lantern has been building their resume for the past 12 years and their first two full-lengths, and they’ve left us with some devastating shit. But all of that has led to their thunderous third record “Dimensions” that’s coming our way physically next Friday (you can hear it digitally today, and that link’s below), and it’s their crowning achievement so far. I say so far because I’m not capping their potential whatsoever, but this album is the measuring stick at the moment for them, and this record is a rushing, strange, pulverizing document that’s one of the best death metal records of the year so far. The band—vocalist Necrophilos, guitarist St. Belial, guitarist/bassist Cruciatus, drummer J. Poussu—unearths all they have on this six-track, nearly 39-minute album that’s ideally portioned and never stops being utterly compelling.

“Strange Nebula” begins trucking right away, piling into crunchy, thrashy playing while Necrophilos’ trademark throaty growls begins to pool blood. “Unleashed from the source, the origin of chaos and death!” he howls while the chorus swoops in where he warns,” Beware the sky!” Finger-tapped guitars usher in a new darkness as the soloing explodes, bones are turned to dust, and the back-end trudges right into the mouth of hell. “Beings” has guitars hanging like a storm as gruff shouts and wrenching guitars team up. A humid heaviness makes its presence felt while  Necrophilos declares, “You are one with them!” as the track drains into hellish waters and right into “Portraits” where the tone grows eerier, and  Necrophilos gruffly sings, “Three candles light the way down these damp and stone-clad stairs.” Beyond are portraits that rob you of your sanity as you try to deny what you’ve seen as your trip succumbs to noise.

“Cauldron of Souls” lights up and goes into a furious pace right away while growls are spat out, and the riffs entangle you. A flurry of playing turns the room in a million directions while the growls pelt down on your flesh, and the track ends in decimation. “Shrine of Revelation” starts in a destructive manner while vicious howls lash at you, and the pace continually adds more fire to its repertoire. Solid soloing emerges and rides through the dark, bringing with it violence and melody that continue unloading until finally subsides. Closer “Monolith Abyssal Dimensions” is a beast at 14:17, yet it doesn’t feel half that long. Dark tunneling gets us into the body of the track where ungodly growls and carving playing brings you deeper into the abyss, while a thrashy assault leads to a blast of weirdness. That works with the wilting temperatures as things slowly work back into punishing order, as warm guitars add a level of steaminess. Drums blast and rattle the walls while delirious playing and Necrophilos’ warning that, “Kingdoms, mountains, and times succumb to the dark,” ushers this into a psychedelic, mind-warping finish.

Lantern still feel like an unheralded band in modern death metal, and that should change with “Dimensions,” a record that takes the logical steps forward and never relents on the punishment. At the same time, there is imagination and risk taking combined, making their sound even fresher than before and one that necessitates repeat listens just to absorb it all. This should go down as one of the year’s best-remembered death metal records in a field of strong contenders.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lantern666

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

To hear the album, go here: https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dimensions

For more on the label, go here: https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

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