Raise the Red Lantern - Raise the Red Lantern
At A Loss Recordings
Heavy Stoner Rock with Progressive Elements
8 songs (44'51")
Release year: 2009
At A Loss Recordings
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

My bet is aside from the dedicated few not many here heard about Chicagoans Raise the Red Lantern. Not to mention the strange moniker, info on them is hard to come by. Three of Raise the Red Lantern musicians (joined by Jim Staffel of Yakuza) are actually in the business of music equipment manufacturing. Hard to say what came first – the equipment for others or their own band – but the dudes of Emperor Custom Cabinets are supplying some of the most recognized names in the underground American scene of today. Pelican, Minsk, Mouth of the Architect, Darkest Hour, Genghis Tron are among many using Emperor guitar cabinets for their own brands of aural destruction.

Zero background information on the band and my struggle trying to pinpoint the style Raise the Red Lantern play, all of that went out the window once Ritual blared out of my car speakers on the ride home after a hard day of work. This song just wraps around you, like a spider web, without letting go. From the dissonant urgent note picking to progressive convoluted structures, this track is totally mesmerizing in its ability to push itself further and further in self-propelled fashion. Ritual is like the spring which does not know what winding too tight really means. It has Baroness melody, Lair of the Minotaur and Black Cobra heaviness, those aforementioned progressive moments and throat hoarsing post-hardcore screams.

This self-titled release is certainly not a one song album. Seduction of Slumber unveils some profound string torture, Wild Stallion has that characteristic buoyant riff for which you will need pliers to pull it out of your head, Oracle is persistent in its stubborn gallop, guitars coming in on dual high/low planes. Sometimes preferring songs over compositions, Raise the Red Lantern pushes an up-tempo rock riffage with cool skilled transitions from one part to another as in No Man’s Land. Thick As Thieves is a methodic heavy destruction with melody lurking somewhere underneath and what by now are expected technical quirks.

Describing the songs individually on Raise the Red Lantern (which I proceeded doing above against my earlier better intentions) is just as thankless as looking for the band’s genre definition beyond “metal”. But if it is “metal” you want, the band does it, with no joke heaviness overloading those self-made amps. The guitars here are tuned to bass levels, and bass is a flowing magma. Add in the voice of a pissed off, drunk caveman to complete the picture. Bumbling and stumbling through the tracks, Raise the Red Lantern have that authentic endearing awkwardness which ties their loud riffs, obvious skill and boundless desire in one hell of a rocking package. Not to be missed by the High on Fire and anything produced by Sanford Parker fans.

Killing Songs :
Ritual, Thick As Thieves, No Man's Land
Alex quoted 77 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:22 pm
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