Would you rather destroy an enemy or caress a loved one for hours? If you need a soundtrack for either act, Loathe have you covered. The British metalcore band are debuting a new track, “Screaming,” with AltPress today.
“Much like its surrounding family of tracks, ‘Screaming’ offers a brand-new perspective and identity for Loathe,” guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe says. “However, the song still retains the familiar twists and turns that have developed throughout our time creating together as a collective.”
On “Screaming,” the band traverse between more melodic parts spiked with unclean vocals and entire sections that are positively ambient. This track weaves the melodic thrall of Deftones to the early shoegaze vibes epitomized by Swervedriver.
Be advised that “Screaming” is only one song in a much larger creative endeavor. Loathe’s second album, I Let It In And It Took Everything, (Sharptone Records) is a bacchanal of sound. There are ugly downtuned riffs supported by even uglier noise. Kadeem France’s ability to channel throat-sheering rage or dreamy tranquility is astounding. The sonic chest punches (“Broken Vision Rhythm”) seem even harder to process when followed up by some tenderness (“Two-Way Mirror”).
AltPress chatted up France to discuss the methods surrounding Loathe’s madness, the void they thought needed filled and the direction of their future artistic endeavors.
A lot of bands make sacrifices for their art. I want to know what the members of Loathe set fire to in their lives to make I Let It In And It Took Everything.
We spent a month in a cottage in the middle of Wales. The nearest shop was a 40-minute walk away, literally nothing around, just a farm with cows and this really small cottage. It was intense at first. It was like, “Yo, this is amazing. We’re going to get this done.” And then it really quickly became very serious. I think the situation where we were so far away and isolated from everyone, it really felt like the pressure that made the diamond, if that makes any sense.
Are Loathe a reaction to something lacking in the heavy music scene? Did you feel like there was void and that your band could fill it?
Around the time of Loathe forming, there weren’t many heavy bands doing what we wanted to do in our area. There was only one, Carcer City, and they’re not a band anymore, unfortunately. [We] just felt like you said: There was a void. I felt like we were [formed] at the right time: We experienced our turn on the local scene, evolved through that and became Loathe.
Are we seeing a higher consciousness toward underground aggressive music taking a form of extremity where it’s not all just moshing soundtracks? A lot of your new record feels like you want people to react to something deeper and not just light-speed tempos and volume.
We all have a lot of different inspirations, and I think that shines through in the music. I feel like [our music] definitely incorporates a lot of non-metal elements and puts them in a metal form. I think that’s what resonates with people who listen to music and feel like broadening [their] musical horizons.
It’s linear enough for some people, but at the same time, there are a lot of points where it’s very textural, and it seems like there’s really nothing for a hard-rock audience to latch onto at first. If you drop a 90-second ambient drone, it’s like they don’t know what to do with themselves during that part of the song.
I think for a lot of music on the new album, it definitely takes one or two listens to fully take it all in and process what is happening. I wouldn’t say it was something conscious but something that comes natural to us because we do have so many different interests in music and put it all together. It can go from one thing to another a lot.
Psychologically, the quiet pieces—especially “451 Days” and “Sad Cartoon”—have that context that they seemingly make the harder, wilder parts even crazier. It’s like you’re drowning, and then somebody pulls you up from the water, and then you’re thinking, “Oh, my God, what was that? I’m safe,” before somebody dunks you back in the deep again.
That’s definitely something we wanted it to be. The album is like a collection of different stories by Loathe. And then there are so many different universes in which it can be stupidly heavy, and then it can be peacefully ambient. And then it’s like going down a corridor and going down different universes of sound.
When you’re listening to a record on earbuds or stereo speakers or whatever, you’re taking that journey. But when you’re confronted with it via a huge PA system, with people onstage and in the crowd beside you, the whole vibe is a lot more electric than being at home dealing with it on a one-to-one level. Is the record intended to be a journey, while the performance is intended as catharsis?
Wow, that’s beautiful. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I definitely think there are a lot of people who listen to us, and when they come to see a live show, it’s like it’s a completely different world. It’s a release. It’s a release for everyone that was involved.
Can the shows be similarly polarizing?
It definitely can be. We’ll do shows in places we’ve played before, and everyone from beginning to end is going crazy. And sometimes, there are times when it’s like genuine silence in between interludes because people are just observant. That’s what I like to see our show as. It’s not only a show; it’s a performance. We like it when people are…not shocked, but in awe.
What should people take away from Loathe?
There are a lot more phases to Loathe than what you know of. We’re just going to continue to evolve and continue to try new things and experiment, because that’s what we love to do. That’s what music is to us.
Loathe are slated to come to America this summer. Get your psyche prepared right now and check out “Screaming.” I Let It In And It Took Everything comes out Friday, Feb. 7, and you may preorder it right here.