“There.” That one word can describe a place of interest. It could be a home you grew up in, a pub you frequent, or a restaurant you and your family or friends enjoy eating at. “There” can also be used as a point of indication in a role, such as “I was there to purchase cat food while making evil grimaces and throwing up invisible oranges at the cashier lady.” What is the point of all this, you may ask? Well, I have been listening to Landskap‘s début EP, the creatively titled I, for the last month, trying to come up with a better word for the United Kingdom’s first foray into the world of psychedelic doom metal, and “there” is all I can come up with for an apt descriptor.
But first, some good news. It’s played proficiently. Opener “A Nameless Fool” has a very classic Black Sabbath riff to it that lurches like an old B-rated horror flick. Jake Harding has quite a croon to his voice, reminding me of a younger Wino (Saint Vitus and The Obsessed) but without the endearing grit. Frederic Caure’s plodding on both bass and rhythm guitar helps incite a feeling of despair and hopelessness. George Pan’s leads are tastefully done as well, not quite Iommi-level of godliness, but they do the job quite efficiently.
The EP also sounds good. Caure and Esoteric‘s Greg Chandler did a damn good job bringing warmth and clarity to the EP. Kostas Panagiotou’s organ playing is present, but not in-your-face obnoxious, allowing for everything to have some breathing room. Everything’s audible, sounds analogue-toasty, and feels like it was a product of the ’70s and not of this generation1.
So what’s the deal with the score? This is the musical equivalent of a high school term paper on a book that you can’t recall, no matter how many times you’ve read the damn thing. Nothing sticks. With the exception of a couple of riffs here and there, it just plods along aimlessly, at the same tempo, all the damn time. It also doesn’t help that half of the EP is instrumental tracks, which is another tagline for “extended jam sessions with no direction.” “The Cabin in the Woods” is so unassuming and short that getting rid of it would have probably helped things along better, and closing jam “To Harvest the Storm” is just too repetitive. Guys, you have a good crooner in Jake Harding. Use him already!
I seriously wanted to give I a better score, as I love me some good-quality, backwards-travelling, creepy-crawling proto-doom, but not when it’s making me recall my high school days of staring at a blank Word document, trying to figure out how to eloquently convey my boredom while wishing I could just go outside instead. “There” should be a place of interest, not what you musically aim for.