LOWERED – S/T (Surprise Gimme A Smile Metal)

I love surprises. Not like “oh it’s my birthday today I forgot,” I mean things that come out of nowhere and just make you smile goddamn it. Since I rarely receive hardcopy submissions anymore my surprises come in the form of email promos with great art and music that just makes you smile goddamn it. You wouldn’t be surprised how much I frown. But this, this, is a smile-inducing mass of crush goddamn it. I mean just check out that existentialist corruption on the front cover by Nicola Samorì. What a nice email that was, but such surprises are even better when it’s not just a band I never heard of, but also a label I never heard of, Throne Records. There’s actually not a lot here you’ve never heard of that I haven’t just mentioned above, but it will just make you smile goddamn it.


Portland, Oregon’s LOWERED came out of nowhere with this one and I liked it with a smile on my face goddamn it for about the first ten listens. It’s the perfect combination of doom and black metal, though infinitely more obvious are the black elements. The doom only comes but sparingly. Let me first get out of the way that, yes, LOWERED is female-fronted as other sites seems to stupidly latch upon. Wow, it’s a girl wow that must be very important to you. I honestly don’t care who fronts a damn band, so forget it and move on to judging the music. There are numerous “post” levels here and most will just make you smile goddamn it. LOWERED messes with your desires and expectations, always good, but sometimes, as you’ll find after listening to it on repeat for days on end, it loses its purpose. The breakdown at 5:46 near the end of “Semaphone,” for example, just crushes, but goddamn it why did you only play it four lines? Just when you want them to continue, LOWERED abruptly stop. The four tracks LOWERED presents are hefty; they cram a lot of information into a short amount of space, and you certainly won’t forget any of it. The issue is that, over time, it loses its goddamn it I’m smiling quality and you almost form a goddamn it frown. Passages sway from one to the next, they slow down and depress, they speed up and smash, which I assume is intentional, but this makes it seem like they never know when to stop goddamn it and just play. Moments that seem like clear ending points, or others that should be longer become mere moments to mess with my goddamn head. At first listen you’re going to love it, but it lacks lasting quality, though unlike other releases of the past year LOWERED deserves a goddamn larger amount of praise than most.


LOWERED Is Too Cool For An Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Throne Records
4.2 / 5