Lutharo Head for Heavier Sonic Territory on 'Hiraeth'

Lutharo Head for Heavier Sonic Territory on 'Hiraeth'
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Ripping onto Canada's underground metal scene in 2013, Lutharo, a Hamilton quintet whose music spans over multiple subgenres of metal, are finally pushing out debut full-length Hiraeth on October 15. With nearly a decade together and two EPs already under their bullet belt, the band have decidedly found their sound by now — even if that sound is something of a patchwork of traditional heavy metal, melodic death metal, thrash metal and more.
 
To put it simply, Hiraeth contains all the characteristics you'd find in a description of what metal sounds like, without losing its cohesiveness by jumping from sound to sound. Frontwoman Krista Shipperbottom's vocals range from intense operatic bursts to agonizing growls, with guitarists Victor Bucur and John Raposo creating a similar duality between soaring leads and violent chugs, while an ardently solid rhythm section of bassist Chris Pacey and drummer Duval Gabraiel provides a mechanically precise foundation for 10 smoulderingly forceful tracks.  

What Lutharo have managed to pull off with this record isn't easy. It's plain to see the classic metal music these well-rounded musicians have grown up on in their own songwriting, yet Hiraeth doesn't sound stuck in the past. Despite its constant callbacks to the glory days of heavy metal, it has a fresh, modern edge, and the renewed energy of a band with everything to prove. The band stress that this release sees them taking more risks than on their previous release, 2020's well-received EP Wings of Agony. Though the catchy choruses and earworm riffs of that effort are still there, Hiraeth sees the band stepping further out from safe-feeling territory, into a vaster landscape of more epic songs and ramped-up heaviness. 

Hiraeth is bookended by singles "To Kill or to Crave" and "Lost in a Soul," both strong tracks that sum up the album pretty well — and though the symphonic intro of "Lost in a Soul" yielding into an aggressive power metal-tinged cut isn't quite original, it's done impeccably here. Yet still, there is much more to hear beyond these two tracks, from the gruelling stomp of "What Sleeps in Your Mind," to the impossible-not-to-headbang-to "Valley of the Cursed," to the massive solo-laden "Eclipse." It's truly an album with no skips, each song bringing something different while still standing nicely alongside the others. 

Why Lutharo have yet to really blow up certainly has nothing to do with their music. With the right promotion and reach, Hiraeth could surely see the band reach new heights and grow well beyond Ontario's regional scene. (Independent)