LETHVM // ACEDIA - CLEAR W/ BLACK SMOKE VINYL (LP)
RELEASE DATE:10th Oct 2019
From the opening moments of “Fatigue,” Acedia’s lead track, Belgium’s Lethvm demonstrates why it is one of the most unsettling and remarkable bands to emerge on the heavy music scene in the past few years. Bursting immediately with fevered intensity and confrontational energy, Acedia is not a record that listeners can be passively involved with. This is music that shakes, inhabits and consumes you, demanding unrestrained physical response and emotional commitment. Acedia refers to the concept of spiritual apathy, of drifting listlessly away from that which you’ve thought to be your life’s purpose. While Lethvm seeks to explore and honor this conceptual foundation, they also offer a kind of respite from it.
This is a record that is unrelentingly compelling and engaging; it never rests, and even in its quieter moments there is a sense of imminent explosiveness. Even as the band pays homage to the concept of losing oneself, they also create an immersive and captivating space that is much like an antidote for the very affliction they are surveying. Like their previous work, Acedia is firmly focused on the darkness. However, unlike some metal bands that regard this realm with misanthropy and cynicism, Lethvm approaches with a reverence and respect for the subject matter that bestows the compositions with a certain tortured beauty. Infusing stylistic elements of post-metal and doom with the unhinged, cacophonous emotional outpouring of screamo creates a raw, incandescent honesty that hits incredibly hard, and the band demonstrates the dexterity to shift tones and intensity levels without sacrificing impact.
Mixed by Tim De Gieter and mastered by the legendary Alan Douches, Acedia rings out with clarity while retaining its sledgehammering force, featuring a sharpness that compliments the immediacy of the compositions and a definition that allows every element to shine even as they become increasingly impassioned and tempestuous. In keeping with the theme of the album, the band is free stray from the path and explore where their impulses take them, while the sturdy production provides the thread that ties it all together. The phenomenon of acedia presents on the surface as bleak and damaging, but Lethvm invites a modern re-interpretation in the context of disheartening modern realities. While uncompromising and often brutal, the songs on this record act as an extended hand proposing an opportunity to destroy and renew, to lose yourself to find freedom.