Litost - Pathos

Litost hail from Spain, and “Pathos” is their 2nd full length album right along the lines of their debut, “Ethos.” Following a similar approach with a few more surprises, one should not take this black metal releases lightly or think it is going to be a raw ‘kvlt’ affair (like Judas Iscariot) or an overly dramatized black metal symphony (like that of some Rotting Christ releases). Litost toes the line between raw and dramatic, but not in predictable fashion. Touching on areas of Death Metal as well there are tracks from this four piece (apparently their added vocalist here is sessional) such as on the blast beat soaked ‘Emboscada’ which features plenty of great guitar melodies along the shouted/ snarled vocals which are raw, but not shrieking. Other tracks like the opening ‘Tromba’ are more in the black metal fashion, almost touching on Dark Funeral territory with how noisy they can get, but still being clear in production and not as guitar distorted to create that crackling hiss like the fires of hell. There are even folk aspects on ‘Espectro’ with the acoustic guitar moments which also add some Spanish touches, which is fitting considering where these guys come from. The harsh vocalist also employs some cleans here and there too on a track like ‘Simun,’ but they are more backing wails than anything to help with the atmosphere of the music, along with keyboards here and there.

The big thing that helps Litost stand out aside from the blackened death metal ferocity is their interludes which sound almost like filler, but are varied enough to keep things interesting still. ‘Vigilante…’ is heavily symphonic with the choirs and keyboards, which makes it fitting for fans of Dimmu Borgir. Then there are the middle eastern touches on ‘Barja De Cefiro’ which are reminders of Melechesh right before the guitar and more metal driven ‘Vendaval’ which is more up the typical black metal listener’s alley, even though here there are some Thrash touches that tended to dominate the previous album, though overall these genre moments seem a lot more sparse. Still, whereas “Ethos” had only one instrumental, it is clear that “Pathos” gave Litost a chance to expand on their musical options and throw in a few surprises. Whether or not listeners will dig them or pass them on as an interlude that ruins the black metal, at least the band is trying something different rather than the typical approach.

The closing ‘Galerna’ is a little more symphonic than the others but still very black metal, even with the clean vocals added. Overall, this release is going to be a bit all over the place for a lot of listeners, but those who appreciated the likes of the rather atmospheric “Ritual” by Rotting Christ which was a bit of a delving off the usual path for the band, but overall a fantastic stand out effort, then they will like what Litost has to offer. While not as dramatic or well produced, their album “Pathos” still has plenty of ‘non traditional’ moments to shake up the usual black metal status quo without being direct about it, but also not weirdly avant-garde either (like when Ulver made the sudden switch from black metal to more Industrial/ Electronic and everyone was at first up in arms about it but finally accepted it after a few albums). Whether or not Litost will continue with their same vocalist or have a new one when album no. 3 comes along, surely it will be an interesting listen nonetheless.

3.5 / 5 STARS

1. Tromba
2. Espectro
3. Vigilante Del Abismo
4. Emboscada
5. Simun
6. Barja De Cefiro
7. Vendaval
8. Galerna