LabelThe Mylene Sheath
Tracklist1. Destroy Yourself
2. A Damning Confession
5. Bone and Arrow
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Ever wonder what it might sound like to cross the epic post-rock of Caspian with the brooding indie prog of Eksi Ekso? Alright, well maybe I hadn’t either, but ever since Lavinia announced their debut EP an anxious anticipation to hear just that has grown stronger with each passing day. Comprised of former and current Eksi Ekso members Nate Schumaker (guitars/vocals) and Alex Mihm (drums), Caspian main man Philip Jamieson (bass), and The Burning Paris’ Josh Megyesy (multi-instrumentalist) the band signed on with Mylene Sheath Records to release their debut There Is Light Between Us. Lavinia accomplish a great deal during this five track record, pushing the envelope of their respective bands for a new sound built on an already sturdy framework. This is not a mere replication of music they have already conquered, but rather a statement of what these four musicians are capable of creating in a new light… or darkness. Bleak, haunting, delicate, and impossibly massive, There Is Light Between Us is a grand gesture of beauty and solemn depth.
The ominous introduction to “Destroy Yourself” draws an accurate portrait of the music that lies ahead with slow crawling guitars over intricate progressive drums. Schumaker’s voice is soft and clear, rarely rising over a near whisper. Intensity builds as the rhythm section dives into the abyss, both Jamieson and Mihm thunderously crashing in hypnotic unison. The monolithic rise comes to a fever pitch, stomping with tightly structured layers of aggressively beautiful guitars. “A Damning Confession” continues with a tribal rhythm soaring with dazzling syncopated drums. The band’s collective tone is consistently jaw dropping, blending seamlessly as though they’ve been playing together for years. Schumaker’s voice oozes with lament without ever appearing contrived or cliché. With vocals kept to a minimum, there is enormous room for the band to unravel their tight compositions into the explosive nature fans have come to expect from their bands' past catalogs. To anyone who ever wished that post rock bands would employ a drummer with talents to match their guitarists, Lavinia is the answer to your prayers. Mihm captures my attention at every turn with some of the best drumming I’ve heard from the genre. “Fires” continues the gentle assault with smoky guitars and hazy vocals over sharp rhythmic intelligence that drives the song before cutting out to reveal a mesmerizing guitar lick not too far from the work of Tool’s Adam Jones. The band rise into a frenzy for the final minute, with keys and slide guitar atmospherics swirling into the billowing wall of sound.
The warm buzzing bass fills the ominous space during “Windmills” intro, humming in perfect tune with Schumaker’s guitars and creative symbol work from Mihm. Long sweeping guitars and slide crash against the fiery rhythm, escalating with expert precision at all times with the skill of your favorite post rock band, only better. Schumaker’s vocal performance is quiet but effective, somewhere between Mark Kozelek, Justin K Broadrick, and Mike Vennart. “Bone and Arrow” develops with the same somber tone as the rest of the record, though rings with a positive vibe thanks to Megyesy’s banjo work sitting just underneath the mix. Washes of distortion ride the guitars into chaotic territory before the band strips everything back to a doomy low end rumble. The guys eventually lock in together with a towering riff crushing all in its path only subsiding for a sunnier approach during the reverb drenched ascent. The guys flex their post rock muscle, contorting from quiet to loud and back again with beautiful symphonic orchestration and patience. Lavinia’s debut only makes me hungrier for more, and I hope this is just the beginning. So please, turn off the lights, sit back and enjoy There Is Light Between Us.