1 out of 5
Label: Hydra Head
Produced by: Logh
Is A Sunset Panorama is horrible, 1 star album? No, not really, but as every aspect of it feels self-defeating, and disappointing when held up against Logh’s other albums… perhaps? I know I’m also giving it the stink eye because the US CD release was on Hydra Head, and I can’t help but feel like they (the label) were expecting something a bit different, then had to spin the marketing to make it seem like this was the new breed of “pretty” heavy music – Red Sparowes was happening around this time – in which you’d claim that a sense of dread or a general weightiness of the music ran counter to its clean tones and clear singing. Sure.
But A Sunset Panorama isn’t weighty – it’s way too glossy for that – and the sense of dread that was very present in other Logh releases gets dismissed via try-hard proetic lyrics, and a minimalist approach that just doesn’t maximize the group’s composition sensibilities. Not that Logh isn’t allowed to change their sound – from the hardcore dusted shimmer of previous releases – but this really felt like overreach, the group buying into that same marketing of combining somber with dainty strums and occasional percussion, and the words and music just aren’t up to it.
The opening track (after an instrumental intro) is somewhat promising, providing that same misleadingly melodic vibe the group often uses – Mattias Friberg’s off-key singing over a climbing-to-nowhere chord buildup – but it just… gives up, leading into the more energetic A Sunset Knife Fight, which also… gives up. And that’s the precedent. Songs will key on to a flash of emotion and not follow it up, but this isn’t a matter of mirroring that initial build up, rather songs just include such flashes for a moment, then either abandon them or end. On occasion, we get more active moments that recall those earlier efforts, including My Teacher’s Bed, which has more realized lyrics as well, but it’s really, really not enough.
On top of this, some extra production layers make the generally crisp guitars and percussion the group employs muted, with added gloss (keys) feeling rather out of place as well. Nothing sticks out.
Does that make it horrible? No. As a random listen, with no precedent, it’s probably better, but I’d still consider it a minor note amongst other ‘loud quiet’ bands. Considered with those precedents, it’s a disc I can hardly make it through, partially out of boredom, and partially out of frustration over its missed potential.