I am sort of upset that I am writing a review on Substratum’s full length as I think they would be great for my new Heavy Metal 2017 column. Fine, I will write a long form review on this… but there better be good heavy metal for February. Now with that out of the way, please welcome the glorious dawn with some energy that arcs like lightning.
After debut demo in the summer of 2016, Substratum introduces itself with a stellar full length that retains the energy heard on the demo and just gives it a mighty kick with raw production. Perhaps Substratum’s greatest asset is in songwriting and the ability to stretch out a normal song over 2 extra minutes which feel like rollercoasters through solos and slow builds. Take the first song “By Any Means” which feels like 40 minutes of intensity in only 6. With this type of efficiency the band could go to fucking Neptune and back.
Substratum excels for many reasons and perhaps the most important is the dedication and patience by its band members. The gruff and gritty vocals from Amy Lee Carlson combined with the punchy instrumentation allows Substratum to exist in 2017 without being a retro cartoon. This is just old fashioned heavy metal without any sort of costume. A third wind around sunrise.