16th October 2015 – Prosthetic Records
04. The Keepsake
05. Falling Cedars
06. The True Pierce
07. A Faint Wisper
New York post-black metal titans So Hideous have been making a name for themselves since 2008, but it took until 2014 full length Last Poem/First Light for them to really come into their own. It’s now eighteen months later, and the band are already back with Laurestine, and with the inclusion of the thirty-piece Last Light Orchestra, this is undoubtedly their most ambitious work to date.
Laurestine is an album that rewards multiple listens, and this becomes clear from the first thirty seconds of opener “Yesteryear“. Its dramatic and meandering piano intro gives way to swirling symphonics and a choral undertone that reaches a crescendo when the vocals kick in, with haunted screams carried by vast guitar lines and some of the most spectacular drumming of recent years.
It’s a fair assessment that the album feels like one track split into individual movements, which with the addition of their Last Light Orchestra makes perfect sense. “Hereafter” is an instrumental track that respires in the most natural way; its six-minute duration leaps between the frenetic and the tranquil. At its most textured it becomes chamber music; no stone is left unturned by its meanderings. “Relinquish” on the other hand is palpable, unrelenting and immediate. It’s metallic edge is sharp and contrasted by it’s symphonic undertones which are both soothing and reassuring.
As Laurestine reaches its climax, the level of composition can finally be understood; with “The True Pierce“, the sensation of acceptance of fate becomes all too real. The concept of the album is based around the idea that the human mind remains alive for up to seven minutes after the heart stops beating. Over seven tracks, So Hideous add a score to die to which, because of its sense imminence and finality, transcends life itself. As “A Faint Whisper” closes the album with sweeping and majestic orchestration pierced with ferocious growls – the last sparks of life.
So Hideous are anything but what their name suggests; their serene yet utterly barbaric soundscapes are both unique and refreshing. Laurestine is everything this album should be and more. Its complex time signatures and cinematic quality pushes the band above and beyond their contemporaries. This unparalleled approach leaves no doubt at all that they have only just scratched the surface of what they have to offer.