Lothorian Invite You to Travel ‘Beyond The Astral Mind’
By Zachary Painter
LOTHORIAN are a promising doom-sludge metal and stoner rock outfit based in Maaseik, Belgium, whose brand of metal is engrossing, raw, experimental and powerful. Featuring Thomas F. (guitar and backing vocals), Jeroan O. (bass), and Jurgen M. (drums and vocals), the trio’s latest release Beyond the Astral Mind (2016) takes the listener on a long, sonic journey full of pummeling riffs and bong-hitting brilliance.
It’s actually Lothorian’s second release to date, and it seems the band put more thought than ever into this one. As a whole, Beyond The Astral Mind is a more definitive statement than their debut EP, Welldweller (2012). For one, the production is cleaner and the songs are stronger, which means Lothorian deviated from the Electric Wizard/Sleep path. But that’s not to say that they abandoned the path altogether. If anything, MAstral Mind incorporates more of a crossover approach than Welldweller ever came close to.
“Blackhand,” for instance, showcases Kyuss Sky Valley-era desert guitar licks that morph into high-magnitude stoner riffs, with vocals similar in nature to Mammoth Grinder’s Fornjót. And then there is “Solitude” and “Soothsayer,” two heavy-hitting, stalwart doom tracks resembling the likes of Ramesses. The overall sound is inherently stoner, with tons of heavy doom.
Lothorian draw from a deep well of influences, but they have a way of writing that is distinctly their own. The compositions are like invitations to transcend with the band, albeit on a trek that is foggy and mysterious. There are a few tracks worth a definite listen, “Eternal Smoke Cloaks the Night” being one of them. This one hints at post-metal infused doom moored to a dominant stoner riff. The song batters the listener like an angry ocean tide against a jagged cliffside. And “Forbanned” is quite possibly the stoner anthem of 2016. The chugging riffage bolsters the imperative vocal chant:
Up In Smoke We Rise
Iron Lungs Decide
Like Welldweller, Lothorian placed several instrumentals interstitially throughout the record, with album opener “Witchcunt” being the first in sequence. The harrowing screams catch the listeners’ immediate attention, drawing them into the ensuing madness. “As The Void Absorbs All Light” is an atmospheric tune that kicks off with a driving drum beat. At the end, Lothorian pull all the stops with cathartic tremolo guitar and blast beats. The most intriguing of these, though, has to be “March of Time,” which implements clean guitar (a perfect timbre for the eerie riff), light percussion and half-muted chants. It never crosses the threshold from delicate textures to brute distortion, making it stand out from the rest of the record.
In its entirety, Beyond the Astral Mind is a cluster of dark, hazy tunes that are easy to get lost in. And Lothorian’s interpretation of all-things-slow still fits the paradigms of the Wall of Sound: thick fuzz, amp worship, sloth tempos, lots of weed. Learn to invoke your inner Weedian with Lothorian.