Today we discuss the post-metal and ambient-laden, mood-enticing work of Latitudes. Halinig from the United Kingdom, Latitudes are probably most easily described as a progressive metal band. In fact, they share much sonically with the German progressive band The Ocean. Much like progressive bands, Latitudes focuses on full-length releases spaced by a few years. With their third full-length release, Old Sunlight, Latitudes have abandoned the instrumental concept (in a manner very similar to Isis circa Oceanic) and have created an album that fans of Neurosis, Sunn O))) and Immolation will revel in. Old Sunlight is a seven-track work that is more massive than advertised.
Possibly the most baffling and profound experience found on Old Sunlight is the double takes that the listener is forced into. On the second track “Body Within a Body” and the final track, “Quandary,” a wavering falsetto is used for the vocals that, when combined with the sparse instrumentation, mimics the mood and sound of Bon Iver. I mention this to give you an idea of the diversity and breadth of influences and moods throughout Old Sunlight. The band has been able to draw from across all genres, even outside the metal world, and flawlessly intertwine those references with their sound.
On the third track, “Amnio,” Latitudes shows that they can hit drone levels of ambiance. The track acts as a buffer between the mournful “Body Within a Body” and the more off-kilter “Gyre.” It’s that fluidity that keeps the album cruising along despite it’s mere seven tracks. Latitiude’s ability to edit; to leave out vocals and let the negative space step to the forefront is another mark of their success. Conversely, when vocals are necessary to fill space, Latitudes does so carefully and didactically adding yet another layer to their constantly developing sound.
Old Sunlight might fall into a label of some post-progressive metal musically, but the album provides plenty of emotion, surprise and excitement. Throughout the album, ideas constantly develop, carryover from track to track and eventually resolve into melting beauty. Seven tracks spanning a mere forty-four minutes feels almost like a successful therapy session as the album fades out leaving you emotionally wrecked but hopeful for the future. It is, in that way, an interactive experience. You will find yourself humming along, bobbing your head and potentially slowly rocking back and forth with your eyes closed. Enjoy it, it’s not everyday that an album this simple yet brilliant comes along.