Lo-Pan – In Tensions

Lo-Pan packs a lot of fun into this short EP. Based on the lyrics, I believe this to be a concept EP, as a lot of the lyrics seem connected through themes of the ocean, personal development, and journeys. You can hear those themes, not only in the lyrics, but in the music itself with its swaying and rocking that keeps your head bobbing the whole time. I wouldn’t call this album straight stoner metal but it certainly uses the stoner metal aesthetic as its main color. There’s lots of other colors though: sludge metal, progressive rock, classic rock. Lo-Pan does a wonderful job of presenting all of them, never relying on the boring cliches of any of them. The closest comparison I can make is if Baroness went further in the direction that they’ve been going, got groovier, and got a higher vocalist. Which brings me to…

I think the highlight of the EP is Jeff Martin‘s voice. His vocal style might be commonplace in a power metal or traditional metal band, but here, his clean, soaring highs combined with the grittier, doomier instruments makes Jeff quite the unique feature. Jeff knows when to lay on the swagger and when to fall back into a more emotional tone. His voice perfectly compliments the work of guitarist Chris Thompson who creates beautiful, melodic waves of chords as well as hard-hitting riffs. Skot Thompson and Jesse Bartz provide a groovy backdrop for these two, making this album more of a heavy rock album.

Overall, I would love to see what these guys do on their next full length. This EP was enjoyable and left me wanting more.

 

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