Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SO HIDEOUS - Laurestine

Prosthetic Records presents Laurestine, the second full-length album by So Hideous. Out October 16th on Prosthetic, Laurestine is a masterpiece of sound and feeling that delivers on past promises and confirms the New York City band to be a true leader in its field.

Before Laurestine there was debut album Last Poem/First Light, a 2013 self-release which wowed the underground with its balance of blackened angst and rich musicality, and with its use of an actual orchestra and choir in the recording process. A review on Stereogum praised Last Poem/First Light's "Envy-with-blastbeats" foundation and "blood-and-guts black metal vocals," and stated, "the symphonic tracks add depth and scope to the band's extroverted guitar melodies." A review in Exclaim! Magazine named it "an emotionally devastating piece of violence that creates moments of aching beauty, only to demolish them under the white-hot treads of blackened hardcore." Comparisons to Envy, Celeste, and composers like Arvo Part and Ennio Morricone abounded – the term "post-metal" appeared to be the only phrase broad enough to encompass the band's unique mix of black metal, post-hardcore, and orchestral elements.

Laurestine now shows the quartet – guitarist and main composer Brandon Cruz, bassist and vocalist Chris Cruz, guitarist Etienne Vazquez, and drummer Danny Moncada – building upon what it began and outshining expectations yet again.

Like its predecessor, Laurestine was recorded at The Wild Arctic Recording Studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with producer Dean Baltulonis (Lucero, Sick of It All, Modern Life Is War) and, like its predecessor, it features actual orchestral and choral tracks recorded by The First Light Orchestra, consisting now of thirty members – brass, strings, and vocalists, recorded at Little Field Performance and Art Space in Brooklyn, New York, by Chris Montgomery (Mumford and Sons, Lily Allen).

An absolute feast for the ears, "cinematic" is the word for Laurestine. The album plays like the score to an unseen film – one continuous ebb and flow of intensity, swelling and receding, from fragile interludes to raging storms. Sonically dense yet crystalline, each musical layer contributes to the emotionally scorching whole.

Brandon Cruz – by day a music teacher at a New York City school – names Max Richter, Hans Zimmer, and MONO as three of the inspirations fueling Laurestine. Cruz reveals that the album is based on a story of one man's post-mortem experience, an interior journey in the seven minutes after dying during which the brain is said to be still active. Ascending toward an afterlife, the man is guided through this limbo state by a woman named Laurestine, made to reflect on the past and prepare for the unknown to come. 

On various levels, Laurestine's lyrics and music connect to tell this story. In reference to the seven-minute space between life and death, the number seven dominates – the seven tracks are riddled with 7/4 and 7/8 time signatures. The songs' lyrics are written in the voices of both the protagonist and his guide – these two narrators lead the listener on an unforgettable tour through anguish, melancholy, and ultimate triumph. 

The first taste of Laurestine can now be experienced exclusively via Metal Injection. Hear a short excerpt of album closer "A Faint Whisper," along with views of the artwork by Italian illustrator Daniele Serra (Shining SW), in this brand new video clip, here.

So Hideous embarks on a short tour of the US and Canada in August:

Aug 28 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Aug 29 - Rockaway, NJ @ The Backroom Studios
Aug 30 - Boston, MA @ O'Brien's Pub
Aug 31 - Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus
Sep 1 - Ottawa, ON @ Cafe Dekcuf
Sep 2 - Toronto, ON @ Coalition
Sep 3 - London, ON @ The APK
Sep 5 - Chicago, IL @ Red Line Tap
Sep 6 - Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club

Photo by Dean Chooch Landry