Lantern Remain One of Death Metal's Most Forward-Thinking Bands on 'Dimensions'

Lantern Remain One of Death Metal's Most Forward-Thinking Bands on 'Dimensions'
A regrettable effect of the old school death metal revival is too many bands hyperfocusing on one chapter of the genre's history, pigeonholing themselves into near cover band levels of nicheness. Then there's a band like Lantern, dragging the murky lake of death metal for all its best kept secrets, particularly those originating in their homeland of Finland. While their necrotic debut Below was a miasmic celebration of all things old school and Finnish, Lantern evolved with their blackened sophomore album, II: Morphosis, which danced on the blurred line between black and death metal. 

On Dimensions, the band's wanderlust takes them into some thrash metal territory, while still retaining their black/death sound. "Beings" is exemplary of that direction, with tight palm-muted riffs interplaying with abrasive Mayhem-esque dissonance on the guitars, and blast beats and bouncy snare hits coexisting on the drums. However, "Portraits," the least enjoyable part of this album, is also related to that blend. The song eases into it like one of those rock-ballad-like thrash songs (vocalist Necrophilos's L-G Petrov-style grunts are even delivered with extra inflection), but fizzles out before it can build up, leaving it feeling shallow and undeveloped. Although, the true downside to the more metallic aftertaste of this album is that it feels less enigmatic than their previous material, even if it lends itself well to some banger riffs.

There's still plenty of black and death metal to sink your teeth into, however. Album opener "Strange Nebula" is an eldritch headbanger of the finest order, calling to mind Finnish legends like Demigod in its serpentine melodies and pummelling riffs. There's also moments when the guitars are reminiscent of '90s-era Death, such as "Strange Nebula"'s tapping riff and the leads in the intro to "Cauldron of Souls." All facets of Dimensions come together on the epic closer "Monolithic Abyssal Dimensions", which weaves between genres across its ample run time.

Despite taking a more familiar form on Dimensions, Lantern retain their status as one of the more forward-thinking bands of the death metal revival. (Dark Descent)