I still remember when Lorn released their debut full-length, Towards the Abyss of Disease, where their raw and unapologetic black metal blew me away. Their sound was well structured, and even though it was not diverging from the core of the genre, they achieved in building a distinct sound, within the traditional boundaries.
Unfortunately, releases have been quite sparse for Lorn, and given that in fifteen years they have put out only two full-length albums, it is no wonder that their name is not very well known. But still, their presence was retained with their participation in split releases, the more interesting of which is Enshroudment of Astral Destiny alongside Battle Dagorath and Darchon. That step opened up new possibilities for Lorn, something that became apparent in their sophomore record, with the fitting title, Subconscious Metamorphosis.
In a way the first EP of the band, Arrayed Claws, is a further expansion of their sophomore record. The black metal tone of the band has been expanded to accompany ambient elements, but the implementation of such tendencies does not cause them to alter their black metal core. The guitars scream with their cyclothymic nature, unpredictable in their progression, while sudden breaks make it a nauseating listen. This is what makes the very essence of Lorn, this dissonant structure coupled with a dense layering of different parts, able to turn the cacophonous lead work, in the second part of “Abstract Trap” for example, into memorable hooks.
The record binds together the primal black metal instinct with the adventurous aesthetics of ambient music and psychedelia. Without causing tripped out sceneries, the repetitive nature of the tracks is able to enhance at the same time the vulgarity of their music, but also the mesmerizing theme that runs beneath. The ambiance on the other hand is augmented further since the days of Subconscious Metamorphosis, with Lorn plunging their roaring riffs into a sea of minimalistic passages, creating a cosmic black metal result. It is a work of brainy extreme metal, with Lorn retaining a fine balance. While managing to stay full on within the traditional approach of the genre, they shake things up with some very nicely applied additions.
7.8 / 10
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