Laudanum: The Coronation

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By Jonathan Smith

The sophomore release from Oakland-based Laudanum is a fragmented collection of ambient doom-ish noise that only adequately reveals the band’s self-proclaimed “blackened instrument damage” when it’s listened to as a whole. Some moments, such as much of lengthy album closer “Apotheosis,” bring to mind the kinds of dissonant and industrial noises found on John Williams’ soundtrack to Steven Spielberg’s 2005 adaptation of War of the Worlds. Framing the disc as the score to an apocalyptic film is a good way to approach it, as expecting conventional structures (even by heavy music standards) will only lead to disappointment. There are a few moments on the album that move closer to more familiar metal shores, such as with the sporadic appearance of the harsh black/doom-style vocals. Even when expecting a less conventional approach to things, however, the album doesn’t always deliver the necessary goods to keep it interesting. It’s not that it’s boring — the whole is just more important than the individual parts. There’s little evidence from write-ups on the band to suggest that they intend things to be otherwise. With this all in mind, The Coronation demands a full listen (probably multiple listens) in order to appreciate its larger project and to overlook its less fantastic moments.

(20 Buck Spin)

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.