Quantum Loba - Descending Void review
|Release date:||June 2023|
01. Descending Void
03. The Sins Of The Earth
04. Grave In The Forest
05. Dwindling Hope
07. The Last Cloud
Both Radu and myself have previously voiced our enthusiasm for highlighting metal emerging from underrepresented countries within the scene. In the process of writing this review, I’ve learnt that not only are Quantum Loba not the first Kazakhstan band featured on our site, but they’re not even the first one to be reviewed for the site.
Descending Void is the debut release from Astana’s Quantum Loba, and if you want any more information about the background of the album or group, you’re straight out of luck, as this album’s release is the sole evidence that the band even exists. There’s no social media presence of which I’m aware, no biographical information on their Bandcamp, no information at all. While a dearth of info such as this does make establishing the background for an album in a review challenging, it does mean that Descending Void is being judged entirely on the experience of listening to it, rather than being filtered through messages of the artist’s intent.
The album that is being judged is a 30-minute djenty deathcore release, and much like with Windrunner, Quantum Loba have an approach that generally falls in line with expectations for the genre. This extends to the lyrics, which, unlike Holy Dragons, are in English (or the sung lyrics are at least; the growls could be in Martian and I wouldn’t know without a lyric sheet). Still, there’s no expectation for new bands to reinvent the wheel, and there is something about Descending Void that distinguishes it from a lot of comparable records. There’s a certain ominous atmosphere to this album that reminds me somewhat of the atmospheric deathcore heard on Nada’s Red Sky, which earned a well-earned victory in the 2020 Best Clandestine Cut award category.
That atmosphere comes through most obviously on the opening title track, on which spacious keyboards, post-rock tremolos, ambient synths and other elements fill in around the gnarly, groovy deathcore centre to the song. For me, “Descending Void” is clearly the strongest song on the album that shares its name; I do slightly wish the same atmospheric inclinations were a bit more present on the subsequent songs, as the ambient synths are confined to a brief snippet near the end of the next song, “Alastor”. The tremolo-dominated passage that comes after said snippet is the most attention-grabbing part of this song, and it does feel like the more expansive moments in subsequent songs are the ones that stand out most strongly.
There are a few other ideas or elements on this album that stand out. The dramatic choirs adding a symphonic flavour to the djent-heavy “Titan” work well; they’re used very sparingly, but I could imagine them impressing even more if used more frequently. I’m less sure about the virtues of Quantum Loba’s use of clean vocals, which is mostly found in “The Sins Of The Earth”. They certainly help make this track the most memorable one here, but the combination of the delivery and the muted distorted effects applied to them means that they fail to resonate with me.
The album doesn’t entirely resonate with me overall; I definitely think there’s some real potential in what Quantum Loba are striving towards here, particularly since Nada have shown no signs of life since Red Sky came out, but after a good few listens, I can’t say that any specific songs or sections have particularly impressed themselves upon me, except for the clean vocals in “The Sins Of The Earth” (which I find memorable, but not for the right reasons). I certainly hope this mysterious group continues after this record; the building blocks for a solid record are there within the dense chugs, djenty grooves, bleak breakdowns, and delicate electronic touches. I just hope that Quantum Loba are able to take those elements and fuse them into songs that make a bit more of an impact next time around.
||Written on 02.07.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not|
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