Lantern positively reek of old-school death metal’s foul, atavistic stench, albeit one that’s been dipped in the grim waters of black metal’s malevolence. Death metal is the overriding style here, but there’s enough of a blackened influence to allow for it in the genre tag.
Twisted, warped and utterly corrupted, the music on II: Morphosis is not a beast that the casual listener should expect to tame. For all this though, this is not a completely impenetrable release like some of the more dissonant examples of the style. Lantern deal in dark hymns that are recognisable as songs, even if they’re sometimes mutated and unusual creatures.
Dark strains of viscous melody survive and flourish within the bloated corpse of these tracks too. The music here may be the equivalent of a walking horror, but it’s one that still knows how to inject colour into the proceedings via well-considered leads and solos. Although you wouldn’t describe Lantern as a melodic band, there’s still more melody here than you might expect, and it’s used very effectively too.
Although Lantern aren’t a riff-focused band, there are still some catchy ones buried in the songs like sacrificial victims. A thrash influence can be heard occasionally too, when the guitars aren’t marauding around with death metal belligerence or with lethal blackened intent.
The singer shouts out over the music like someone possessed. His voice is harsh and abrasive, but ultimately quite satisfying as these things go. His style, while not unusual per se, is still quite an individual one, and I find this works well with the music. The great thing is, for me at least, the more I listen to these songs the more I like his vocals. It’s almost as if the strength and power in them slowly builds over time, no matter what order you actually listen to the tracks in.
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It’s foul, grim and evil, but not so much that it overpowers the songs themselves. Ultimately this is old-school death metal with an esoteric blackened sheen; the latter part is prevalent enough to give the band very much their own personality, but not so much as to distract from the former, and the pleasure this kind of music can deliver.
If you’re looking for some underground nastiness, but without going too far down the proverbial rabbit hole, then I heartily recommend you check out Lantern.