Sometimes, an album speaks to you. Beyond just the emotions it relies, it’s like it flashes words into your mind, communicating directly with the secret parts of you. It often happens with a band you already know; your history with them, your familiarity, are like super-conductors for the themes, ideas, and words behind the music, easing their journey inside of you. This kind of direct communication is what I’ve been experiencing with LATITUDES‘ new album, Part Island and, even more so, with the astounding “Moorland is the Sea”. It’s a beguiling side-step for the band, taking their established sound in a new direction, more mysterious, softer but also more impactful, a re-working of a post-metal band into something less direct but, somehow, more powerful. We’re proud to premiere the track right here; head on down below for it.
Perhaps it’s the title of this track, but the words which flashed into my mind as I was listening to it for the first time were “sea-change”. Part Island is a marked shift for the band, especially when compared to their previous work, Old Sunlight. That album was a masterpiece, relying mostly on heavy instruments to convey its meaning, utilizing clean vocals to a rare and brutally incisive degree. On Part Island, these vocals are brought into the main, playing a central role on all parts of the album, where they perform beautifully. Their gentle swaying, like a hand outstretched from the darkness or from a deep pool, leads the listener into the depths of the music.
And those depths are definitely there. On “Moorland is the Sea”, they are created by the beguiling synths which haunt the track, by the bass as it carves out caverns in the resounding guitar tones. The entire album is like that, even as it goes back and forth from heavier to softer passages. It is like slow moving suffocation, light seen from the wrong side of a body of water, filtered through the dark waves as they crash above you.
Produced by Chris Fielding (CONAN) at Skyhammer Studio, mastered by Audiosiege (CONVERGE) and featuring artwork by the in-demand Dehn Sora (BLUT AUS NORD), “Part Island” weaves 6 emotive songs:
2. Moorland is the Sea
5. The Great Past
6. Part Island
LATITUDES were formed 2006 in Hertfordshire, UK primarily influenced by cinematic rock, doom metal and the roster of Hydra Head Records. Their first EP, the all-instrumental Bleak Epiphanies in Slow Motion, was recorded by Mark Williams (Oceansize) and released October 2007 by Shelsmusic. The EP was described by Metal Hammer as “an artefact of great power and beauty” and as “dark and enchantingly melancholic” by Rock Sound, who included it in their top 75 records of the year.
LATITUDES were consequently picked to play Damnation festival 2008, toured the UK twice with then-label-mates *shels and played with bands including Baroness and This Will Destroy You, creating a reputation for crushingly intense live performances.
The band released their debut full length Agonist in October 2009, bolstered by guest vocalist Adam Symonds (Eden Maine) and new member Rich Harper on keys/atmospherics. Recorded by Chris Fielding (Napalm Death, Primordial) the record moved into darker, broader musical terrain.
Agonist was described as “a staggering debut” by Kerrang!, “breathtaking” by Rock Sound and “f**king brilliant!” by The Quietus. LATITUDES subsequently toured the UK with Hammers and played with bands such as Nachtmystium, A Storm of Light and Minsk. By this point the band had advanced significantly into a heavier beast fusing the spirit of 70s’ prog with dissonant post-hardcore and elements of black, death and atmospheric doom metal.
Second album Individuation – released July 2012 and again recorded by Chris Fielding – layered passages of singular riffing, pounding creative rhythms, dreamlike vocals and hauntological sound textures. The album was described as “mesmerising” by Kerrang! and “beautiful” by Terrorizer, who placed it in their top 50 of the year.
LATITUDES subsequently condensed and honed their sound, playing a number of storming live sets including Arctangent, Desertfest, the Damnation Festival pre-show and as main support to Pallbearer in London. In 2015 vocalist/multi-instrumentalist and regular collaborator Adam Symonds became a full-time member of the band.
LATITUDES’ third album Old Sunlight – recorded with regular producer Chris Fielding and mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Earth) – was released January 2016 by new label Debemur Morti Productions. Acclaimed as “perfection” by Echoes and Dust, “wondrous” by Stereogum and “utterly intoxicating” by No Clean Singing, the record confirmed LATITUDES to be a distinctive outlier in the realm of heavy music.
In April 2018, the band returned to Skyhammer Studio and Chris Fielding to record album number four: Part Island – a full-vocal, pared down song-cycle unifying a cerebral take on underground metal with the atmospheric folk and shoegaze influences hitherto at the margins of their sound.