Review: Litha ‘Litha’

Litha is the solo project of Andrew Black of Oregon’s, now sadly defunct, Sorceress and their self-titled record is out now through the venerable Tartartus Records. Litha was created as an outlet to channel Black‘s anxiety and depression, as well as feelings of negativity and misanthropy that his other ambient work couldn’t provide, so I think what we’re about to get is pretty dark…

Litha 'Litha' Artwork
Litha ‘Litha’ Artwork

Opener Hunger certainly bears all the hallmarks of dismal, depressive black metal. Helpless scowling vocals snarl above a riff carved from melancholic ice, while drums crash and clatter underneath. The atmosphere is raw yet rich, enhancing the rawness of emotion and music but without that tinpot bedroom black metal feel that is so prevalent at times. Litha are not trying to be TRVER THAN THOU, they are just being true to their experience. I suspect it is Black‘s ambient works that pervade the production values here, lending an air of depth to what could have easily been raw for raw’s sake.

The wistful melancholy of Wearing Away becomes a doomier vibe in I Am Many, which really gives you something extra to think about. The slow burn build of Bite The Hand is great, leading us with a shimmering black metal riff and a dizzying level of gear shifts, enveloping within a cocoon of blackened melancholy. This is a black metal record that oozes with a simplistic reality to it.

A sad, resigned authenticity seeps through every riff and every lyric…

There are no grandiose gestures of darkness, no orchestral flourishes or grim ferocity being withheld. There is only misery, there is only anxious, encircling gloom. There’s a fragile honesty to it that isn’t swept away on frosted riffs or wicked shrieks. As Thirst provides a more measured and mournful close to this record, you can sense that what Litha bring to the surface is real. There’s an authenticity to these weeping riffs, the solemn atmosphere enveloping all of what lurks below.

A lot of one-man depressive black metal is one-dimensional, full of rote ideas and songwriting. Litha‘s work is nuanced, and it feels like it was written by someone who has a personal connection or experience to the content. A sad, resigned authenticity seeps through every riff and every lyric.

Label: Tartarus Records
Band Links: Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Sandy Williamson