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Lamašhtu - Längtan review

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Band: Lamašhtu
Album: Längtan
Style: Progressive metal, Symphonic metal
Release date: July 2024

01. Du Är Vad Du Är
02. Ett Svek
03. Du Var
04. Alla Djur
05. Res Dig
06. Sov Mitt Barn
07. Slakta Dina Barn
08. Små Steg
09. Mer Än Allt

I was late to the party with Lamašhtu's previous album, Tro. I mean, late late, like, over two years late. Nevertheless, it proved to be one of the highlights of that year for me. I was pleasantly surprised when the Längtan promo landed in my inbox but also slightly worried. It's always difficult to follow up on a good album but even more so to match the expectations placed on it.

The strength and driving force of Lamašhtu's songwriting is what can be referred to as a multi-disciplinary approach to their creative output. Stylistic representation of their stage daemon personas and back story rooted in ancient mythology are but a part of a whole. Tro was based on a Swedish children's fantasy book titled Eli by Sandra Mattson, the singer of Lamašhtu. The book tells a story of a little girl Eli and her encounter with the daemon world. Eli is the first in a trilogy and each song on Tro was mapped to a chapter in the book. Längtan, which is based on the yet-to-be-released second book, forgoes the exact mapping in favour of mixing the story up and focuses on the warrior Joar and his meeting with Eli.

The presence of the overarching concept shines through the music, making it appear a cohesive whole. In many ways it sounds like the fantasy story that it is, a bit like a soundtrack to the magical adventure but at the same time it wouldn't be one if you were to throw it over, say, a hypothetical animated version of the book. I guess what I mean is that Längtan – just like Tro before it – is not just a support act to the book. It's a separate entity in its own right and a facet of a story delivered through a different, complimentary medium. I think of it as what lives on the pages of the book and in our imagination while reading it now come alive through sound in time and space.

Längtan treads carefully on an interesting border between symphonic and progressive metal, so much so that it's hard to decide whether it's symphonic metal with prog filling or prog metal in symphonic coating. It's irrelevant inasmuch as one supports the aura of the magical daemon world and the other drives the dynamic storyline. Somehow Lamašhtu seem to avoid tropes of either genre and focus our senses on the important – that is, the story. Perhaps it also helps that Sandra's vocals aren't what is typical to symphonic metal, though she sure as hell can hold a note when needed. Possibly her style is not suitable for everyone but I for one have been enjoying it a lot.

In some ways one of the strengths of Längtan is also its greatest vulnerability and can be extended to all Lamašhtu albums. On the one hand, it's absolutely fabulous that in a world that is so much focused on the English language they have chosen to sing in their native Swedish. It's refreshing to listen to and frees the imagination. It sort of reduces vocals (in a good sense) to another instrument and focuses the attention on the interplay between the instruments and the vocals. On the other hand, it would appear that lyrics are such a big part of this particular album that I can't help but feel like I'm missing out not just on the nuances but on the whole story. Perhaps a full translation of the lyrics as a companion to the album is something for the band to consider. You know, to help us non-Swedish-speakers achieve that final step of immersion in what is otherwise an excellent album.

Written on 05.07.2024 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 42 users
05.07.2024 - 14:13
Yo, they're the ones from your staff pick. I'm gonna check this soon.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
05.07.2024 - 14:34
Written by RaduP on 05.07.2024 at 14:13

Yo, they're the ones from your staff pick. I'm gonna check this soon.

The first single "Alla Djur" is out, the second should be coming today, I think, and one in a week, before the full release in two weeks. But do check, worth all the attention they can get. While my first impression in comparison to Tro had been that it's not as memorable, it does open up and is totally on par.


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