Progressive metal is enjoying something of a spectacular resurgence. Whether the sheer scale of the output from progressive metal bands, both established as well as new, is entirely healthy remains to be seen. What is undoubtedly true, however, is that in the context of such a burgeoning and crowded arena, it is becoming increasingly difficult for bands to stand out or make a discernible impression.
Enter Renascence, the second studio album from Welsh band Lost In Thought. Exuding a fresh and vibrant intensity, what an entrance it is. Whilst a lot of prog metal forcefully (and sometimes literally) screams for your attention, Renascence arrives with an unassuming yet energetic honesty that quickly makes it a non-negotiable presence. This is not an album you can casually play in the background. The spontaneous warmth and passionate sincerity of the music creates a powerful and captivating atmosphere which quickly elicits your undivided attention.
Opening track A New Life is exemplary in illustrating just why the approach Lost In Thought have taken is exactly how it should be done. Here is a band who are not afraid to change things up with songs which evince a palpable and infectious vitality: lovely winding, complex structures and frequent changes of timings create corresponding changes of moods as well as changes of contrast.
The contrasts at the heart of this album are worthy of attention as they supply the key to the dynamism and effectiveness of the music. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the musicianship is superb. But the way the band play in relation to each other is what sets the music on fire. Often we talk about the way bands create ‘layers’ to create their signature sound. Lost In Thought are doing something substantially different.
Instead of building layers, the way they play is intuitively responsive and reactive. The music is both complimentary as well as supplementary. They craft the musical spaces for each other to be heard or combine to create different resonances within the same soundstage. Renascence is all about integration, where the band’s mutual awareness of what each other are doing works beautifully to create a balanced, focused and comprehensive sound.
The result is that crunching refrains segue into exquisite melodic hooks, densely packed amplified power distortions pivot around delightfully spacious, echoing harmonies and where the ebb and flow of each instrument is absolutely crucial to the overall success of each song.
Moments of intimacy (Save Me) and poignant delicacy (“We keep holding on even when we fall apart”, from Open Your Eyes) mingle with the vigorous eruptions of prog metal’s more characteristic sounds (Delirium) and expansive power riffing (Legacy). Yet because of the dynamics of integration at the inventive heart of this band’s engine room, each song has its own twist and enjoys its own innovation.
You could be forgiven for thinking that final track Absolution is just another piece of bombastic progressive metal, but listen again and take note of the receptive influence of each instrument to the others, leading to a track full of intelligent subtle interplays and cultural nuances.
Here is the final element which lies behind the imposing triumph of this album. Each song lasts between 5 and 8 minutes. Instrumental integration like this can’t be rushed. In order for the transitions to work, for the contrasts to evolve, for the dynamics to properly engage and flow, the music needs time to develop; it cannot be forced but must rather naturally emerge, expand and unfold, taking time to discover where they are going. Organic integration.
And this is why Renascence is such a pleasure to listen to and why it so clearly stands head and shoulders above other releases in this crowded market place. Everything about this album carries a natural, intuitive attentiveness to the rhythm, flow and momentum of the music which comes as a result of musicians who are seamlessly responsive and attuned to each other. It is a joyful declaration which enthusiastically celebrates the rich possibilities for the future of this genre.
[You can read Jez Rowden’s TPA review of Lost In Thought’s recent show in Swansea to support Renascence HERE.]
01. A New Life (7:22)
02. Ascendance (4:42)
03. The Promise (5:33)
04. Save Me (7:44)
05. Don’t Fear Me (6:43)
06. Open Your Eyes (5:02)
07. Delirium (6:38)
08. Legacy (7:35)
09. Absolution (5:01)
Total Time – 56:20
Chris Billingham – Drums
David Grey – Guitars
Josh Heard – Bass
Deane Lazenby – Vocals
Diego Zapatero – Keyboards
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 8th November 2018