Latitudes, the progressive metal quintet from Hertfordshire, have returned from a four-year gap since their last effort, Individuation. Their latest album, Old Sunlight, pivots from the grooving riffs used on their previous records to focus on a more calculated tone. They conjure an atmosphere with tremolo-style guitar and sprinkle short melodic overtones to slice its surface for moments of intrigue. Old Sunlight’s opener, “Ordalian”, is a solid example. The song splashes chugging riffs which texture the foreboding backdrop as brief guitar crescendos glide over dissonance. “Altarpieces” traverses a similar path, but it opts for piano passages and warm synthesizer interludes. Both tracks illuminate fun transient movements, though they are muddled by incessant riffs which fail to leave an impression.
Sparse vocals create the most memorable moments on Old Sunlight. “Body Within A Body” collapses from its rhythm into a void lit by a piano and layers of crooning vocals, until the song erupts into a cacophony of drums and guitar. “In Rushes Bound” is book-ended with depressed vocals lifted by a wailing guitar melody. These highlights inspire awe, but it’s unfortunate there are so few. Even the closer, “Quandary”, harbors lyrics of unease backed by a sad guitar progression, though it falls from its precipice before instilling emotion. Old Sunlight engulfs listeners far too often in an atmosphere which meanders. Despite the redundant tone, it’s the few gems on the record which keep the sunlight from fading.
Purchase the record here.