If I were to make a list of USBM bands that don’t get the attention they deserve, Florida’s L.O.R.E. would definitely be somewhere near the top. Our loyal Vault Hunters may remember that their debut full-length Litany of Ruinous Entities landed at #6 on my Top 20 Albums of 2017, and that I also had the chance to interview Nihilus Arcana (vocals/synths/atmospherics) and Wormwood (bass/guitars).
Almost eight months to the day after the publication of that interview, we have the honor of pulling back the curtain on their second album, Gateways: Between the Scales of Destitution and Ascension. Based on its opening track “Gateway I,” which we’re premiering here today at the Vault, the album looks to be a very different sort of record than their debut. 2018 has been something of a difficult year thus far for the band, and the L.O.R.E. that emerges on Gateways has clearly been tempered by those tempestuous black flames.
The nearly 12-minute “Gateway I” is far more varied in terms of its composition than anything on Litany of Ruinous Entities, with several tempo changes and an emphasis on cleaner guitar tones. There’s a nuance in the performances as well, particularly the drums, that almost makes me want to hit them with that dreaded ‘m-word’ tag: maturity. Or to put it another way, if Litany of Ruinous Entities was essentially one long, anguished scream, Gateways: Between the Scales of Destitution and Ascension punctuates those screams with long stretches of introspection.
The one thing that hasn’t really changed since Litany of Ruinous Entities? Nihilus Arcana is still one of the most painful-sounding vocalists in the genre. When asked about the song and the new album, he offered:
"Gateway I" is the first track off of our second full-length Gateways: Between the Scales of Destitution and Ascension, which we felt represented the body of work as a whole. Writing began a month after the release of Litany of Ruinous Entities. We had some shifts in direction musically, personally, and spiritually, which all played a role in the sound we have created for this project. With the departure of founding member Loreus Heresy, Wormwood, who was originally on bass, moved to both guitar and bass roles, which brought new elements to our sound. We decided to focus more on the atmosphere for this project, to go along with themes of the subconscious, death, and rebirth...in which we enter the first Gateway.
Gateways: Between the Scales of Destitution and Ascension is due out digitally on September 21 from L.O.R.E.’s Bandcamp page, with a self-released CD to follow shortly thereafter, as well as a cassette version from Red River Family Records (find their webstore here). There will be no preorders for any format, but the hope is that physical copies will be available before their performance at this year’s Red River Family Fest (get tickets here). Check out “Gateway I” below, and while you do so check out the tracklist for the album, as well as Nihilus Arcana’s lyrics for the song.
I wiped clean the alter of my own sacrifice. Myself in exchange of your affection. What a sight. A beautifully painted disarray of the same infected wounds dripping before pleas to the one in question. A bowl of my own blood reflects the self. I peer within me. I’m indifferent to the risks involved with the toying of such deadly shards aimed at my fragile body. I’ve seen the same end repeatedly and I’ve heard the same hoarse cries of the child huddled in the corner of what was to be. A beginning cursed without knowing. A beginning cursed at the birth of innocence. Memories stained in glass for only my eyes alone that are impossible to describe. Arms waving in distress only to be met with laughter. Betrayed once again. At the end of everything, it all goes silent. I gaze into the fire. How toxic the lips of the whore can be. As the poison takes hold, I become so cold. Death awaits, but does not bring conclusion.