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Goth Macabre Meets Icy Black Metal on Lock Howl’s Latest

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Metal has been a challenging genre for me to keep up with lately. I lost one of my closest friends in the world the day after Christmas, and though I’d been tending toward a more goth and post-punk sound for several months before (something must be in the water), the abrupt jolt of deep and prolific loss pushed me harder down the rabbit hole, meaning all those handy promos I’m lucky enough to receive have been sitting in my inbox awaiting the day I felt like I could emotionally handle the aggression of heavy metal once again.

When my dear friend and reluctant goth Grim Kim brought one-man project Lock Howl to my attention a few days ago, I finally felt a connection. A howling macabre paean to the likes of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy with just enough black metal iciness to cut through the winter of seemingly universal discontent, this album feels like a masquerade in a graveyard. While tracks like opener “The Seventh Room” and “Graveless” are indisputably danceable and hook-laden enough to raise the dead, composer James McBain’s speed metal chops become more evident on “Into the Darkness. Into the Unknown.” The squally riffs and pummeling beats modernize a project that might otherwise be written off as merely an homage to post-punk and the atmosphere that sparked it, which is increasingly mirrored in our own current political climate.

“Pariedolia” by Lock Howl is out today: stream it below via Bandcamp.

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