Raise The Red Lantern
"Raise The Red Lantern"

(At A Loss Recordings 2009)Raise The Red Lantern - Raise The Red Lantern

Sometimes it's good to be dirty. Like backyard-football-after-a-monsoon dirty. This is especially true of sludgy beardo metal, where bands won't score points for tiptoeing through an album. That fact isn't lost on Raise the Red Lantern, who dirty up their latest full-length in an attempt to make some space for themselves in an increasingly crowded roster of teams.

Raise the Red Lantern's previous album was called "Thunderfuck," which should give you an idea of the kind of playbook the band is bringing to the game. They mix it up, running bruising draws up the gut and calling trickier, precision plays. Opener "Ritual" is a great example, seesawing from full-bore rocking to slowed-down melodicism and back, but "Thick as Thieves" is where Raise the Red Lantern really hit their stride. The band spews sludge with ferocity and grace, almost like a rougher-hewn and much less grandiose Baroness. Lots of bottom end counterpoints and enhances the riff workout that Kris Milkent and Dylan Patterson put their guitars through. There are some minor nitpicky problems like occasional vocal inconsistencies and the high guitar notes being way too prominent to the point of distraction in a few songs, but it's almost better for the album's aesthetic to leave these imperfections in, rather than sound too polished.

The band's name is, in a roundabout and backwards kind of way, an inverse of their sound. Follow us here: Raise the Red Lantern is also the name of a Chinese movie that tells the story of a concubine in the 1920's. It depicts a world that, on the surface is delicate and pretty, hides an ugly and desperate reality. This is like a mirror of the album's griminess concealing what at times can be beautifully crafted music. Or that could be a whole lot of overanalyzing. Either way, you don't need to understand the subtext of foreign films, or football analogies, to toss this album around a few times.

A-

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