It’s been over two years since London hardcore band The Lowest Form hit us with their last LP, Negative Ecstasy. Now from the same record label that brings us Dreamdecay, Private Room, and Latishia’s Skull Drawing releases comes the Personal Space LP! This dropped about a month ago on November 4th. With songs ranging between one and two minutes, there’s no bullshit, and it feels more theatrical than their last LP.
Personal Space opens with “Interplanetary Bad Boy (dub),” a reference to the opening track on Negative Ecstasy, “Dropping Bad Boys.” There are no vocals at first; it’s haunting, screeching, tribal, lo-fi, drowned out noise reminiscent of outer space. The chant-like vocals come in for the last 20 seconds, connecting nicely with the second track simply titled “Interplanetary Bad Boy.” The two tracks are like night and day, similar to the “Dropping Bad Boys” track on the previous album which changes in tone when the vocals come in. The vocals on this album are also easier to distinguish compared to the previous one which is great because they feel more “raw” and fleshed out.
“Gak Attack” (great title, btw) is a fun, energetic, noisy mess. Lots of crashing symbols and dirty guitar over all kinds of different gritty effects. It contrasts very nicely with the next song, “Last Smash,” which has one of my favorite introductions on the album. It starts off slow and dark, then completely changes tempo when the vocals kick in and gets even faster as it goes on, dipping back to slow only to flip the pace back up and abruptly end. It’s intense.
“Star Slammers” has every element jumping straight into it. It’s an extremely vocally driven track; he sings in a fast, crazed tone over a shitload of different noisy layers. Toward the beginning of the next song, “Dread Future,” lies the most feedback on Personal Space. Yet it’s also one of the catchiest, and gratefully an extra minute longer than the rest. You can’t even compare the first minute to the last minute, it changes that much.
“Evol” takes you by surprise. It starts off predictably enough with loud feedback, but out through that comes what sounds like a stampede of horses’ hooves clomping along before the vocals begin. The guitar in this song has more of a doom vibe similar to something you’d hear in metal, it’s rad. “No More Hiroshima” is one of the more faster paced songs, the vocals being particularly crazed. The drums are more prominent and the intro is longer than most of the other tracks.
“Personal Space,” the vocal-less track for which the album is titled, comes second to last. It opens up with some slow, uncertain feedback with the drums faded deep within the background. The noise grows louder and louder, the drums being drowned out even more, before fading into nothingness. This was appropriately titled and really left an impression on me. They finish it out with “Helter Skelter,” which has a classic Lowest Form feel to it and rounds the album out nicely. It changes tone completely about halfway through to a faster, more viscous mood.
Personal Space is a fucking sick sophomore album. It stands out to me more than their other releases; the vocals are easier to make out and it brings forth even more unique elements to hardcore.