Lento - Fourth
ConSouling Sounds
Atmospheric/Experimental Sludge
10 songs (46' 23")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

Though Lento bills itself as "experimental psychedelic sludge", I got an industrial vibe out of it at times. The mechanized sadism of their beats and the dark, stretchy quality of the guitars give their aptly-named fourth LP, Fourth, the grim feeling of inevitability. Some sludge groups go for a delicate balance between the heavy and the intricate; Fourth at first just rams the listener over and over with jagged shards of noise, but in between each heavy track is sandwiched an introspective relief from the oppression they can deliver, just like they did on Earthen. What has changed is their composition abilities; the ambient pieces, especially, are better than they used to be.

For all the ferocity of the start, it would be doing Fourth an injustice to say that it's not capable of subtlety. Undisplaceable Or A Hostile Levity, for example, doesn't have any of the rough guitar/bass manhandling found on other tracks; atmospheric noise, reminiscent of a far-off metal fabrication factory doing a late-night production run -- complete with clashing metal --, make up its sound, mixed with horns down in the front of the mix. Last Squall Before the Crack and Let Bygones Be Bygones (A Grievance) are also good, featuring a scraping, twanging guitar played over a hushed background.

In between these tracks, the pummeling is most effective when the band gives its riffs room to maneuver, such as on Some Disinterested Pleasures. On some of the other tracks, the speed of the riffing gets a little too far over the top, to the point where the riffs the undeniable talent of Lento can produce get strangled by all the static-y speed-blasts they try to counter the quiet half of their creations with. One where that doesn't happen is the final track, A Matter of Urgency. The tempo doesn't reflect any urgency at all, but it's clearly a matter of urgency to crush the listener, before letting up halfway through the assault and switching to a carefully nuanced tone.

Overall, Fourth produces an intriguing sound that spans the crushing and the very quiet. Lento appears to be better on the ambient portions than on the heavy portions, but both are masterfully done. There's still a lot of Neurosis-style atmospheric sludge in this band, but they've absorbed new influences and come up with a few ideas of their own. Fans of Earth will probably enjoy the rather similar countrified drone of some of the ambient tracks.

Killing Songs :
Last Squall Before The Crack, A Matter of Urgency
Andy quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Lento that we have reviewed:
Lento - Earthen reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
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