Rervm is only the second release by San Francisco act Lotus Thief, and one that establishes them as a band to watch for the future. Like bands such as Neurosis and Opeth before them, Lotus Thief use contrasting musical devices to fantastic effect. This record presents a veritable smorgasbord of styles that frequently will have you scratching your head and yearning to hear more – black metal, space rock, hard rock, it’s all here in a compelling mix.
The first of the six tracks is “Aeternvm,” which throws a curveball at us with its innovative use of blastbeats, as Horseback-esque grooves and delicate psychedelic guitars swirl beneath the maelstrom. “Lvx” has uplifting and catchy melodies, with the piano plonking along underneath the guitars almost like a power metal band, whereas “Miseras” has a hugely groovy riff right in the middle like some 70’s hard rock. There is enough on here to head bang to for sure, and a great deal of appeal for gothic and shoegaze types alike – Lotus Thief manage to appeal to many whilst simultaneously alienating few. Pinning this band down is tough to say the least, and when Lotus Thief get round to hitting the road they will have an eclectic bunch of people at their shows.
Label: Svart Records
The brains behind this, Bezaelith, gives Jarboe a run for her money with her ethereal, majestic delivery. She contributes everything present on this record except for the drums, which are supplied by her co-conspirator, Otrebor of black metal band Botanist fame. It is worth stating how awesome the cover artwork is – a hooded figure walking away with a lotus in his hands, the flower often representing the sun in eastern theology. It reminds me of the works of ghastly UK troupe Dragged Into Sunlight – although in the case of Lotus Thief, there is nowhere near as much opaque blackness to be heard in their music.
The eldritch nature of Bezaelith’s delivery all the more fitting given the esoteric subject matter at hand – the record is based on a 1st century BC text by a Roman poet. Music can often offer a gateway to literature – from Metallica’s Lovecraft leanings to US Christmas’s epic “Run Thick in the Night” being largely inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian – fans have often been inspired to picked up the related book to see what was behind the band’s inspiration. It’s refreshing to see Bezaelith pick an rather obscure and demanding book to base the album on, which makes the overall experience more gripping.
This is a fantastic album in the true spirit of the San Francisco music scene – left of centre, forward thinking and inspired – well worth forking out your money to hear this in its glory. Certainly an auspicious start to this fledgling band’s career.