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  LAIKA
'Somnia'
(Filth Regime Records)


jools green

Jools Green



laika

Canadian melodic death Metal six-piece Laika are quirkily named after the Soviet dog who became one of the first animals to travel to space because, to quote the band; "In the beginning we were quirky dudes full of pretty insane ideas, much like sending a dog to space, so it seemed fitting".

This is something that is true regarding their first release, 2010s 'Crafting The Cataclysm' which has some pretty quirky riffs and solos.

The follow up release, 'Somnia' which has been two years in the making still has some of those quirky elements, some solos and riffs that seem unnervingly off kilter but this time not in such abundance.

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There are some things about this nine track release that I do like a lot. The best aspect is the vocals from Jordan Dorge, a powerful rasp and very comprehendible which is a bonus because the lyrical content is very interesting and it would have been a shame if that was lost in an undecipherable growl.

There are also at times some great melodic elements that complement the harsh vocals and the bass work from Mike Mason is good. It has a slight down-tuned jangle to it which really works well and at times it adopts a higher profile as on 'Dream Of Nothing' where it adds a haunting edge. The subtle keyboards throughout from Steve Tedham add a lot to the mix and the drum work from Blair Garraway is pretty tidy as well, particularly on 'Fidelity' at the midpoint.

The album opens positively with 'The Restless Mind', a keyboard led, haunting intro before flowing seamlessly into 'Escalation Of Terror', probably the best track of the release, which has a good midway guitar segment and a well placed and utilised direction change also at the midway point, subtly punctuated with keyboards throughout.

laika

Regarding the other tracks; the up tempo title track 'Somnia' has catchy, chugging rhythms that sit well against the rasping vocals. The guitar work in the first half of 'Caligae a Galea', it is cleverly constructed and reflected midway in the bass and keyboards as the tempo drops away briefly, another of the standout tracks of the album.

'The Immortal' has good keyboard and bass work along with powerful lyrics and the vocals which here achieve a broader range, from a deeper growl to tortuous scream. On 'Predictions (Tide Bearer)' I liked the punctuation of the opening guitars and the slight technical edge to some of the guitar work in the first half of the track.

The final track 'Invaders' was another standout track for me, sinister opening guitars giving way to vocal screams and keyboards punctuated with militaristic drumbeats that merge into powerful riffs.

This is quite a good album overall, maybe trying to be a bit too clever in some places but in others its superb. 'Somnia' should be of interest to anyone who likes Scandinavian style melodeath.




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29.9.14











 


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