By Adrien Begrand
Formed five years ago by founding Dark Tranquillity guitarist Niklas Sundin and three former members of goth veterans the Provenance, Laethora wastes absolutely no time in giving Swedish death metal fans exactly what they crave: bruising, punishing riffs and grooves reminiscent of great bands like Entombed and Unleashed. At the same time, though, their 2007 debut March of the Parasite also showed signs of ambition, dipping sporadically into Gothenburg-inspired melodies and straight-up grind reminiscent of Napalm Death, and that album was so promising it had many wondering if Sundin was actually finding more inspiration with this new endeavour than his other, more popular band.
If March of the Parasite had a fault, it was that for all its strengths it still felt like a side project, a collection of terrific ideas that nevertheless left listeners with the notion that given time, this band could really gel into something special. And indeed, three years later Laethora sounds fully-formed on their second album. All the aforementioned influences are again very prominent on The Light in Which We All Burn, but it feels more like a true hybrid of sounds rather than a hodgepodge, including a strong d-beat influence that adds a very welcome, punk-fueled energy to an already spirited record. The production is considerably more beefed-up as well, its muscular tone rendering the previous album thin in comparison, making for an apt backdrop for the burly bellow of bassist/vocalist Jonatan Nordenstam. Better yet, through, the songwriting is exceptional at times, tracks like “I As Infernal”, the brooding “Damnable Doctrine”, and the ferocious “Saevio” showing tremendous range and cohesiveness at the same time. In the end, Laethora’s approach is so different from Dark Tranquillity that to compare the two is hardly fair, but for those who felt We are the Void was a letdown, first of all, you’re nuts, and secondly, there’s a good chance you’ll dig this one in a huge way.
(The End Records)