Monday 4 June 2018

Locktender - Friedrich

Labels: I.Corrupt.Records/Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records/Deadwood Records/Utarid Tapes
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 15 Jan 2018


1. The Monk By The Sea
2. View Of A Harbour
3. Wreck In The Sea Of Ice
4. Seashore With Shipwreck By Midnight
5. The Chasseur In The Forest
6. Morning Fog In The Mountains
7. Winter Landscape
8. The Abbey In The Oakwood

Ohio's Locktender ended their four years of silence earlier this year, with the release of "Friedrich". It tells the story of a Monk who eventually killed himself through loss of faith, while drawing inspiration from the artwork of 19th-century German landscape artist Casper David Friedrich. Having been released on vinyl initially, it was released on tape in May. I've already been jamming the album prior to writing this review, which isn't something I usually do but I was sucked in.

This feels good. The escape from reality that’s provided by music is unparallelled and Locktender goes the extra mile to make their’s that bit more special. The Monk By The Sea is the melodic opener you want and while the crunching riffs/percussion/vocals remind you of the band’s hardcore leanings, there’s way more to it all. The introspective passages filled with guitar melodies and the clean singing that towers over the recording at times, are layers that just belong. View Of A Harbour is a short piece that definitely conjures up images of sitting staring out over a coastal vista, with no cluttered thoughts to worry about. It flows into Wreck In The Sea Of Ice, which is filled with palpable emotion and anger from the vocals, while once again the melodies play out over minimalist drumming, There’s still loud dissonant screamo present but it’s very cohesive as opposed to being stop/start. Locktender’s lengthy instrumental passages are a pleasure to behold, like the one that forms the first sections of Seashore With Shipwreck By Moonlight. It’s spacey, calming and reminds me a lot of the music contained on “Feathers” by Duct Hearts at one point and then early-00’s post-hardcore the next. It builds up throughout and eventually explodes into something akin to emo-violence/hardcore towards the end. it’s wonderful. 

The second half of “Friedrich” is a post-hardcore/metal feast thanks to The Chasseur In The Forest. The vocals definitely hit you from a more extreme place, while the shorter running time and layers of sound offer a lot of impact, which other albums miss within their mid-sections. They’re back to their cinematic best on Morning Fog In The Mountains, with the calm/chaotic dynamic working so well. “Friedrich” is an album best enjoyed in a full sitting and not in fits and starts. Even though the song-titles seems as though they were chosen at random, the songs themselves follow on with ease. Penultimate song Winter Landscape is the album’s longest and one of it’s most thought-provoking as well. The beautiful isolation that you feel during it’s mid-section is hard to ignore. It’s like staring up at the night sky, inspired by just how huge the universe is other than just focusing on your small part of it. It’s taking that step back that makes the difference. Following that was always gonna be difficult so Locktender goes in a completely different direction and fills The Abbey In The Oakwood with off-kilter hardcore and screamo that smashes the wonderment into smithereens and replaces it with distant anguish and subtle black metal-style morbidity. 

I’m annoyed that I didn’t give this more attention earlier on in the year. It’s utterly glorious and shows that the time Locktender spent silent hasn’t affected them musically. in fact, it’s probably allowed them to open up and explore further, which has made for an outstanding album. Nothing more need be said. 

You can stream "Friedrich" and get it as a name-your-price download below:-

Physical LP and tape copies can be purchased from the links below:-

Zegema Beach Records -
Deadwood Records -

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