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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Review: Loch Vostok – Opus Ferox – The Great Escape

Label: ViciSolum Productions

Date: June 25th, 2021

Well, this started off with a super familiar tune. I won’t lie, it got my hopes up. This album’s theme being as futuristic as it is, the opening of the record really got me going.

Also, this twenty years old progressive metal entity has finally given some extra time to creation, having four years since the previous output. And this is their eighth full album, so a simple math could tell you they were quite busy for quite some time. Probably not such a good idea when you strive for an overly dynamic and complex genre. However, I cannot judge their previous efforts since I didn’t have a chance to listen to them.

On the other hand, with the new album and contrary to my statement above, Loch Vostok has failed to make me a fan.

I must say that the type of progressive metal performed by the Swedish quintet sounds quite modern. It does fit to the mentioned gloomy apocalyptic theme and makes for an atmosphere that has potential to grasp your attention. With that in mind, the Swedes take a lot from outside progressive metal tendencies. Most notably, a decent dose of contemporary Swedish death metal.

Now, these parts might serve a purpose in coloring the picture where colors are needed, but somehow I find them ill-fitted within the overall song structure. I could comprehend the use of backing growls, even if the vocal range of the leading voice is downright superb and fairly capable of carrying out the roles necessary on its own. But the musical slide into the extremes falls out of place. At least to my ears.

What is also present within this opus is the certain nu metal vibe. It is not omnipresent, but it rears its head on occasion calling out some Disturbed influences. Those are certainly a much better fit to the foundation of Loch Vostok’s sound and a point where the band shows that it can further diversify the overly diverse genre. And make it good.

Speaking of the “familiar tune” I’ve mentioned in the very beginning, Loch Vostok is just as inspired by the motion picture soundtrack masterminds. And it does not just apply to the opening of the record, as touches come and go throughout “Opus Ferox”. Another cool addition, undoubtedly.

Further down the plus side of the release, the Swedes hardly put any focus on individual instrumental skills. Well, they do, but to a bearable level, where they do not lose themselves in useless show of brilliance. It remains clear that they are, one and all, masters of their respective instruments, but the song is the key to creation. That being said, there are a couple of songs that will most definitely leave a mark on the listener. Still, I find also a couple of “fillers” on “Opus Ferox” and therein lays the problem.

The sections of the album capable of touching you deeper are too few and far between. Especially for a record that is just shy of an hour long. Well, if you go for a CD version which ends with an eight minute long bonus track. The record, though decent, will soon be forgotten within the myriads of similar ones. Unfortunately, I might add.

If you’re a prog freak, you might give it a go. Otherwise, you are just as good without it. I am still curious about the band’s name, though.