By Justin Kay
I am a firm believer that anytime music evokes emotion–from its listener, be it happiness, sadness or even anger–it is doing something right. That is what makes music so great and makes it something that everyone can relate to. If a piece of music is unable to get anything out of its listener other than indifference, then it is not really worth the time it takes to listen to it. Anxiety Despair Languish, the latest effort from Lento an instrumental five-piece from Italy, delivers on the idea of drawing out emotion from its listener. Even if most of the feelings it produces are of gloom and doom.
The album is emotionally exhausting. At first, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the record, but each subsequent listen it grew on me more and more. The album is more about atmosphere than melody. And while it is heavy, it isn’t heavy in a conventional sense. Sure, there are plenty of sludgy guitar riffs and drums to match them, but there is also a complete and utter sense of hopelessness and impending doom captured in the music that really took me by surprise. The sporadic guitar riffs on this album remind me of early Dillinger Escape Plan minus the aggression and technicality. While the heavy chugging guitar sections are comparable to Meshuggah. Still neither of these bands are really comparable to the atmosphere and overall vibe of Lento.
While few and far between on the album, when Lento does decide to add in melody they excel at it. Two great examples of this would be the tracks “Anxiety Despair Languish” and “Unyielding/Unwavering,” but even these songs transition from melodic to dark and heavy as ominous keyboard sounds lament in the background. Anxiety Despair Languish would be the perfect sound track to a terrifying horror film or even something you would expect to hear at the gates of hell. The music is intense and emotional, while remaining ambitious in its effort to sound heavy without sounding familiar.
With most instrumental bands you either get something incredibly melodic and beautiful that the addition of vocals would take away from, or something extremely technical that is more about the display of the bands ability on their individual instruments than anything else. With Lento’s latest release you don’t really see either of those techniques being applied. This album is more about creative exploration and expressing emotion than anything else. These ideas are what make Anxiety Despair Languish a great album. While this album isn’t for everyone, those who appreciate heavy music and are looking for something different to satisfy that need should take a chance and give this record a try.