Having reviewed Lotus Thrones‘ prior releases and interviewed mastermind Heath Rave there isn’t a need to repeat the project’s history, for the curious I would recommend reading those aforementioned pieces on the Shaman to provide a bit of context and background. Following November 2021s Autumnal, comes this second instalment in Lotus Thrones seasonally-themed EP series and we are met this time around by the wintry blasts of Hibernal (Winter).
I’m delighted to report that Toby/Shadow Cartography who designed Autumnal‘s cover is utilised once again. The naturalistic theme of the EP’s title is reflected in the artwork, and such is the level of intricacy and detail that I cannot wait for the physical copy to be issued. As much as I utilise digital mediums such as Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube, I miss having something tangible to hand which I can study as I’m listening to the music. I’m old-school I can’t help it.
In terms of immediate impact, The Stag-Beetle is up there with Bethlehem’s Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt from the legendary Dictius Te Necare album, (albeit minus Reiner Landfermann’s terrifyingly demented vocals). The track taps into Heath‘s black metal roots and makes for an intense and powerful opener. The video for Codependent Arsonry highlights Heath‘s love of all things 1980s related from the Tron style graphics to the appearance of a cassette tape, this is cemented by the tasty synth work. That said, the track is given a more contemporary sheen with heavy goth rock style guitars and Bruce Lamont‘s tasteful saxophone playing (who also featured on Lotus Thrones debut Loves In Wartime). I was reminded of Lycanthrope Cardiology from Autumnal with the strong melodic streak that hooks you from the off.
Miasthmatic has a twofold meaning which, according to dictionary.com, can refer to both ‘noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere’ as well as ‘a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere’. Listening to Miasthmatic there is certainly a sense of apocalyptic bleakness which contrasts quite beautifully with its predecessor. The Ministry style sample at the start and the Unholy Passion era Samhain vibes make for something quite special indeed, ideal music for icy cold winter evenings.
incorporates numerous genres from noir jazz to post-metal, black metal and post-punk that’s effective because they make it all sound so effortless and cohesive…
At over seven minutes long Christmas is the EP’s longest track and the theme, to quote Heath in Metal Injection’s review, focuses on ‘reimagining the story of Christmas with Joseph as an abusive alcoholic stepfather’. Interesting concept, but possibly not one to crack on when the relatives are round for the festive period tucking into pigs and blankets and playing charades. Or depending on your perspective, maybe the forced jollity of that particular holiday makes it an ideal accompaniment (a sentiment I would be inclined to agree with). Musically the track comes across like a twisted variation on the by now ubiquitous Fairytale of New York with some cool David Bowie style Vocal intonations.
The EP concludes with a cover of melodic death metal band Hypocrisy‘s The Arrival Of The Demons Pt 2 and features Andy Schoendgrund on guitars and Thomas Haywood on drums. Not being the biggest fan of death metal, or its variations, I was unaware as to what to expect, so I was surprised to be met with a decently low-key, downbeat, and even emotive-sounding interpretation of the original.
Lotus Thrones incorporates numerous genres from noir jazz to post-metal, black metal and post-punk that’s effective because they make it all sound so effortless and cohesive as a whole. Another winner from Heath Rave and Disorder Recordings.
Scribed by: Reza Mills