From the ever-impressive Iron Lung Records comes the highly anticipated LP from Latishia’s Skull Drawing, Romanticized. For those who aren’t aware, this is an extremely noisey, all-over-the-place hardcore punk band featuring members of The Ukiah Drag (darkwave/postpunk), Cottaging (noisey postpunk), Cult Ritual (hardcore), and Salvation (hardcore). I discovered this band through Joey and his review of their astounding demo that dropped last year. They really do sound like a stunning combination of their previous bands. Romanticized was released on October 13th of this year (a notably great month for music) and features 3 tracks that were on the demo.
“Bloody Trauma” was the second track on their demo, but on Romanticized it’s been moved up to the first. It’s an excellent, more crisp recording. The guitars are more distinct from one another, which is highly appreciated, especially toward the end with that sick solo! This was easily one of the best tracks on the demo because of that solo alone, so it’s nice to hear it enhanced.
“Heirloom” is a minute-long blast of energy. Vocally, this is one of my favorite tracks because he packs on that high pitched, crazed madness that made me fall in love with the demo. That’s probably what makes this such a great segue track between “Bloody Trauma” and “Release”; it sounds like it could have been on the demo to begin with.
“Release” was originally the opener for the demo, and the song which first completely sucked me into Latishia’s Skull Drawing in the first place. The doomy guitar riff really does it for me, and now it rings even clearer. The vocals are just as crazed as ever.
The feedback from Release carries into the next track, “Vagrant’s Prayer.” This song has the same energy Latishia’s Skull Drawing is known for, and has a great combination of different sounds going on, including a constant feedback that rings subtly in the background. The tempo changes dramatically throughout and it sort of feels like it’s tricking you.
“Cerebral Stigmata, Junkyard Martyr” has a slightly slower pace than the rest of the album and isn’t as noisey (I would say more rock-based with noisey elements compared to the other tracks), but it’s my favorite song on Romanticized. First of all, the guitar solo about halfway in fucking kills. The best part for me, however, is the nightmarish way it finishes out, with the vocalist chanting “die” in a haunting echo over and over. It’s the spookiest song both in sound and lyrics, though not necessarily the most bleak.
“The Ecstatic Thief” is next, which makes sense to me because it brings us back to the fast, grimy stuff, but it still sounds somewhat more rock-based like the previous track because of the guitar work. I absolutely love all the different guitar riffs that evolve as the song goes on, it’s truly original.
“Threshold of Atrocity” was also originally on the demo, and I’m so fucking stoked they kept it for this release. There are several varying layers in Latishia’s Skull Drawing’s music, and this song perfectly encapsulates this. Being able to hear each layer, deconstructing that noise, is a real treat for the ears. It makes you appreciate all the different elements that go into it, sounds that you wouldn’t normally think would pair together well.
“Triptych” is another vocally powerful track. This is the song I’d pinpoint as having the most bleakness in tone. The guitars sound sick as fuck, but they also evoke feelings of hopelessness. There are slight elements of d-beat and Japanese crust in this one, so it’s easily among my favorite tracks.
The album fittingly ends with Romanticized, a song that starts with some powerful drumwork. The tempo is slower, but the vocals make it feel so vicious. It really picks up about halfway through with a 180 guitar change this band is known so well for.
Their Bandcamp page for the album states, “Do any of these apply to you? [List of symptoms associated with depression.] If so, you are listening to the right record.” As someone with severe anxiety and depression, I can say with confidence that Romanticized encapsulates the constant anguish and torment not found in the minds of neurotypicals. Well done, guys.