Laika – Somnia

This band have taken their monicker from the unfortunate Russian dog who became one of the first animals in space: Laika. Unusual name for a band, but no less so than Leprotic Acid Spitting Amoebas From Angola (NB: I made that name up off to the top of my head – if a band with such a name exists already, good luck to you. If the name isn’t currently being used, anyone reading this is welcome to it.)

The musicianship on this album is top notch. Indeed all the band are really good at what they do. The song-writing is very good, and far more inclined to the progressive side than the death side, particularly on “The Immortal” and “Caligae A Galea.”

I like the production very much, precise but not cold. Compare this with Rick Rubin’s production of Death Magnetic – the Emperor’s New Clothes, if ever I hear it. No, the production on Somnia is outstanding.

Kudos too for the great cover artwork; presentation is important.

Now, finally, a piece of constructive criticism: I’d advise the band to avoid labels for their music, and not be hamstrung by them. The band they most remind me of is Voivod circa Killing Technology in the sense that on that album Voivod promised great things, and had the courage to do what was needed to embrace them. I’d like to see Laika do the same because this is a band capable of similar greatness.

(Filth Regime Records) LaikaOfficial


Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (