Upon being handed the Lòdz torch, Grymm advised me to approach the Frenchmen from an emotional standpoint. Post-metal’s enjoyment is often predicated on embracing the primal, rather than the technical. Someone like myself who struggles to connect with the genre’s hardscrabble nature might fail to embrace the passion hidden within. For Time Doesn’t Heal Anything to resonate in my heart, Lòdz would have unlock my emotional chastity.
As desaturated and bleak as predecessor Something in Us Died, Time eloquently balances intensity and introspection. “Negligence” returns to Katatonian atmospherics, bolstered by the post-metal of Cult of Luna and sprinklings of gothic intonation. Brightness in the guitar work overcomes the crushing layers, careful to maintain its thematic core despite its brickwalling. Yet for the emotionally celibate, the track rings hollow. “Time Doesn’t Heal Anything” tempts with momentarily blackened tremolo, but never takes the plunge. Guitarist/vocalist Eric’s depressing post-rock theming leads to a cohesive experience, but individual tracks bleed together. Compounding the problem, his vocals offer very little standout quality from track to track. The harsh aspects are capable but average, while the cleans never achieve the heart-stopping quality of folks like Daniel Gildenlöw or Steven Wilson. Fears of missing the point rang true in my head, as good stretches of the album failed to connect. I simply couldn’t pinpoint the noteworthy moments I expected from a band that came to me highly recommended.
I was a victim of circumstance, as it happens. Woods of Ypres; Pallbearer; Katatonia; listens at work or shoveling snow never properly set the scene for them, so why should it for Lòdz? Indeed, much as Grymm needed a lonely morning walk to understand Something, so too did the solitary expanse of a frostbitten New England night expose the mysteries of Time to me. “The Sound of Deceit” caught my eye with its plaintive, mournful melody before cutting harsh flourishes of Ghost Brigade. Vince’s consistently solid drumwork, though perhaps a bit busy for the lulls, ramps up alongside tantalizing guitar undercurrents reminiscent of Thy Catafalque’s electronica influences. “Everything Is Fine” wrings hope and despair from your tired bones, cycling from simple, effective cleans to too brief bouts of Astronoidian pummeling. Those touches of anger are carefully highlighted, though they typically don’t stick around nearly as long as I would like. But in its most successful and poignant moments, Time ensnares by doing exactly what its conceit demands: highlighting the in-betweens, the cracks in the music where the listener can tumble down the rabbit hole.
Unfortunately, those cracks are often plastered over. My initial trepidation regarding Time was partially justified by segments where emotion and energy simply were not enough. Most songs pace up and down in lockstep, regardless of whether it should tear out of the gates or take it easy. Sometimes pieces feel mismatched or out of place, such as the initial launch of “Cataract,” jarring you just enough by diving right into what feels like the middle of the song. Moments where I should slip off the edge of the map, awash in a focused display of introspection, stumble. Despite offering post-metal atmosphere in spades, the fifty-minute spin passes over secondary fonts of inspiration, like those dustings of Ghost Brigade aggression. I linger on the sparse beauty when I can, and I still indulge in the emotional tumult during its fleeting availability. The remainder is too grey and shrug-inducing to make an effect. The ear-splitting production goes a long way to negating Lòdz’s impact. For an offering so dependent on layered instrumentation and moving introspection, you would think a DR4 Wall of Death would be the last thing served up. I have no idea what business a band like this has in enlisting in the Loudness War, but it is to their detriment.
For the folks that loved Something in Us Died, I suspect Time Doesn’t Heal Anything will deliver the goods yet again. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however. As a neutral observer, this record does not deserve the ringing endorsement befitting better execution or production. Very little of it is bad, but too much of it is uninspiring. An album of this sort should not captivate only in rare circumstances. If you want music to rend your fragile, decaying soul apart, there are better sources than Lòdz.