Loathe - Up Close And Personal


OneMetal.com Music Editor
Loathe - Up Close And Personal
Self-released - 2005
By Philip Whitehouse


How many metal bands can you name from Malta? I can think of two, and that's including the quintet who recorded this intermittently impressive four-track demo. So, if nothing else comes from the release of Up Close And Personal, Loathe should at least be comforted by the fact that they have single-handedly doubled the number of Maltese metal bands known to this particular reviewer. However, I suspect that Loathe will go on to achieve far more than that, as the professionalism and talent displayed in the four tracks (and, incidentally, in the packaging that they come in) portrays a group taking their first steps towards an interesting career.

Coming across like an amalgamation of Bolt Thrower's bludgeon, modern metalcore's affection for an anthemic chorus, and Pantera-esque 'power groove', Loathe's music manages largely to stay the right side of the brutality/melodicism divide. Third track 'Unless We Die' sounds like it's going to fall off the rails into screamo accessibility territory from time to time, but then a jackhammer riff always lumbers in just in time to keep the more jaded listener intrigued. Vocalist 'Beast' summons a variety of vocal styles, from hardcore shouts to death metal growls through strangled screams and the occasional (ill-advised) rap-like delivery, while the tight and proficient musicianship of guitarists Kurt and Karl, bassist Estelle and drummer Alan steer the demo confidently to it's conclusion.

The production masterfully fails to betray the unsigned quintet's status, too, with chunky guitar tones, a powerful drum sound and a clear and balanced mix. Pehaps the only significant criticism that could be levelled towards Loathe is that they could really do with deciding whether they're a metalcore act, a death metal band, or something else, as there are bound to be sections in the songs on this disc that please fans of one style, while sending others running for cover.


Official Loathe Website