Subtly is an important factor when building intrigue and mystery behind a piece of music. Some artists can struggle with this key component and thus their music has no real flare or true depth. Loss is a band that transcends against the grain and builds an entire album on both the fact that their music is mostly slow-builds, gentle breaks, and an indefinite theme of struggle within their lyrics. Their newest record, Horizonless is a profound look into just how creeping beauty can clash with swift speed and use duality to the highest advantage. Loss builds an atmosphere with their music, a broken down, sluggish monument that eventually gains its footing and begins moving with impeccable timing. Loss can not only build upon the atmosphere, but they can crush what is around it and truly become a punishing force of ruin.
While nine tracks, Loss’ Horizonless stretches into the one-hour mark and it is a complete rollercoaster of emotion through in and through out. The opening sporadic drum pounds from Jay LeMaire are an indication of what kind of hell is coming to pay. Then as the other instrumentalists, an incoming hydra of Timothei Lewis on guitar, John Anderson on bass, and Mike Meacham on both the guitar and vocal aspects. These four instrumentalists are the catalyst for becoming both the harbingers of impending doom, and are the heralds of immense beauty that is instantly present on the first track, “The Joy of All Who Sorrow”. From the wicked guitar that seems to howl to the subtle style of playing that acts like waves in the ocean, both Meacham and Lewis are incredible in their craft and make for a truly wonderful experience on the strings. Anderson also supports Lewis and Meacham with crushing grooves and truly punishing strength that shines through when paired with Anderson’s smashing crash cymbals and ride cymbal. Loss is a rare breed of band that can work well with each other, creating an instantly recognizable chemistry and a serious threat that rides in fours.
The following track, “I.O.” is an atmospheric track that relies on the clicking of what feels similar to a type-writer and the use of ethereal vocals that work to the likeness of a horror film. The guitar featured relates to a music box and is then the seguing motion into “All Grows on Tears”, a track that proceeds back into the longwinded sagas that Loss masterfully creates. The lyrical style of Meacham is truly depressing and works well in agony, he begins, “I’ve sunken to that place again, where the sun only throws shadows and the stars have all burned out. Bury me in a lonely place and plant thorns on my grave, I wonder as to what nourishment those roots must be suckling from that tomb?”. His lyrical approach is fitting with the style of music that Loss produces and feels from a place of personal anguish. The concurrent theme of both the appeal of death, and the morosity of life are given vitality through his growls and the subtle building of the pounding instruments behind him. Loss works as a single entity to bring the idea of eternal agony and the everlasting end to the forefront of their music and is able to capitalize their sound in a colossal manner.
Loss can also work to make a feeling of dread become almost sudden like on the track, “The End Steps Forth” where the piano and guitar combination are simply one of the more beautiful mixtures of both an authentic and a synthetic style of instrument. Then almost as suddenly as the two begin, a grim voice comes like a powerhouse that brings a pipe organ and unforeseen percussion, shifting the entire mood to an almost cult-esque side. This is why Loss is such an impactful band as they can completely shift everything within a matter of mere seconds. From the abrasive to the subtle, from the thunderous to the faint, Loss can manage almost anything and creates new worlds within their sound.
The self-titled track comes into frame, “Horizonless” and is a prime example of how Loss can switch their sound, maintain a level of energy in both aspects, and wreck anything that surrounds them. As Loss begins to become larger with their overbearing sound, they still managed to keep a solid mold of both the vocals and instruments that work incredibly well together. From the gentleness to the pounding near war-like music that follows, Horizonless is a constant mix of non-complacency that never fully relaxes, never gives the listener a full second to breathe, and manages to become more of a journey than a simple record. Loss’ Horizonless is a rare-breed that can conquer, but can also become a tender ally of sound that is inviting and is a gradual process that becomes corrosive.
Staying available and accessible to an audience is never easy, but Loss does a fantastic job of keeping a constant theme of despair with a pretty packaging. They move almost effortlessly and create one of the best records to come from Profound Lore this year. The clashing tides of neutrality, the overbearing sound, and the final nails in the coffin of Horizonless, Loss is an act of nature that not only creates wreckage, but also rebuilds and shows the beauty in despair.