Lore Of The Lakes is stylistically reminiscent of 1990s hypnotic black metal and harmonically in the vein of melodic death metal. It’s also a lyrical study of a person or people’s persevering nature in the face of adversity, with both positive outcomes and mournful conclusions. The result of these homages and deep dives into personal histories is one worth listening to over and over again.
Lore Of The Lakes moves at a quick clip with constant, pounding drums and a deluge of tremolo-picked guitars. The album weaves itself a rich sonic signature with guitar and bass that shifts between multi-part harmonies and tension-building counterpoint, forgoing all the purposefully “evil” chordal black metal riffs of yesteryear. Its composition as an album feels purposeful. As if each song were written as a flowing opus, rather than sections whose lines must be blurred together to make them fit properly.
Despite the barrage of notes and percussion, Lore Of The Lakes retains a trance-like quality throughout (think in terms of the unrelenting nature of Transylvanian Hunger by Darkthrone). There, in that repetitious style of writing, lies one of the most beautiful aspects of Lore Of The Lakes. It forces you to hear the music as a landscape rather than individual notes. Aside from a few leads on “Raging Hearts” and “Let Pain Be Your Guide,” Inexorum paints portraits of learning through loss and struggle via an innumerable amount of brushstrokes. To focus on every single note isn’t the point, but stepping back and watching them come together to cover the proverbial canvas is, and offers a sublime listening experience.
Mastermind behind Inexorum Carl Skildum says Lore Of The Lakes chronicles “a strange succession of crisis moments, major surgeries, and adjustment to ‘new normals.'” But it’s not all doom and gloom. Skildum takes a seemingly optimistic approach to chaos and curveballs, one of the most notable moments of that being in “Let Pain Be Your Guide.” Skildum’s booming calls that “no one fights alone” are followed by towering, beautiful female choral work that just feels downright empowering. Or even on the closing title track, where he recalls standing on the lake’s edge as a thunderstorm approaches. Skildum likens the distant cracks of thunder to the voices of those who have gone before him and touches on his own mortality with lines like “we gathered near the water’s edge / never knowing where our journey ends.”
Lore Of The Lakes is a surprisingly gorgeous listen that isn’t afraid to bare its own heart and tug at your emotions. It’s a place of solace for those going through rougher times and a comforting callback to those who came out on the other end. As heavy as Lore Of The Lakes gets musically and lyrically, it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to flatten you under the weight of crushing death metal. It feels like a reconciliation with tragedy, a conversation with oneself sitting on the sand, listening to the waves gently roll up onto the shore under the fading light of day.
Carl Skildum has instantly solidified Inexorum‘s importance within the canon of metal in 2018 on Lore Of The Lakes and I personally cannot wait to hear more. It’s a unique album that sounds gigantic and whose personality lives up to that production and then some.
Buy Lore Of The Lakes here.