Lotus Thrones – The Heretic Souvenir

Lotus Thrones – The Heretic Souvenir
Disorder Recordings / Seeing Red Records
Release Date: 07/04/23
Running Time: 37:37
Review by Dark Juan

I am Dark Juan, and I like miserable things. I like dystopian fiction, where man is ground down to a mere mindless servitor, or they live in a gilded world where they are contained in an authoritarian cage, with no means of bettering themselves because they are so rigorously controlled in every aspect of their existence. They can also be exterminated by the age of thirty, if “Logan’s Run” is to be believed. Although seeing Jenny Agutter attired (attired being too strong a word for the gauzy, minimal clothing masquerading as a dress she was costumed in as she was in that worthy film was a singular influence on the teenaged and frequently priapic Dark Juan. There was also her role as a nurse in “An American Werewolf In London” but Dark Juan enjoys her performance in that film for entirely… ahem… personal reasons) as she was in said entertainment medium would provide no small recompense. Grey skies and black drizzle and graveyards seem to be my default things to have a modicum of happiness penetrate the obsidian lump that is Dark Juan’s heart. This applies to the music Dark Juan prefers as well, be it the heart-rending sadness of My Dying Bride, the inky depression of the Sisters Of Mercy or endless Drone and sludgy, dragged out riffing. All of these things give me a glimmer of enjoyment and satisfaction.

So does my subsequent discovery of a vegan black pudding analogue, as experienced this morning courtesy of the fake bacon and vegan black pudding sandwich (I am vegetarian, and to all you motherfuckers who get exercised about why I am eating fake meat products – I used to love actual bacon and black pudding so I see no reason why I can’t enjoy a vegetarian analogue, and frankly you can go and explode your tiny gammon heads somewhere else because I’ll eat what I like and laugh in your face while I do it, continue to vex me and I’ll kick you in the bollocks so hard you’ll have three Adam’s apples, you food police fucknuggets) kindly provided to your ravenous correspondent this morning by Mrs Dark Juan before heading to the Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic in Todmorden where I was able to procure the second volume in E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series from the bookshop Holly has downstairs in that august venue.

“Your mouth, an unending shit machine…”

A splendid lyric, and one that I feel perfectly sums up the miserablism of Philadelphia, USA-based Lotus Thrones, being the band currently having the dubious honour of engaging my attention by having their new album “The Heretic Souvenir” spinning upon the now infamous Platter of Splatter™. Are they a new favourite band or are they a pile of steaming rat wank? You can find out simply by continuing to read this nonsense!

First, let us be clear. If you are expecting velocity, fucking forget it. There is ‘Glassed’ which moves along at a fairly brisk canter, but the rest of the record moves at the speed time in a waiting room passes when your phone has no charge and the only magazines are on fucking home décor from the 80s and every room looks like Jackson Pollock has vomited copiously and repeatedly all over it. It is not a speedy album, and this is especially evident on the 11-minute epic (and album centrepiece) ‘Autumn of The Heretic Souvenir’ which is a droning, dragged-out masterpiece of dissonance and despair, welding the lyrical storytelling of one Andrew Eldritch, esquire, and the post-punk fury of Killing Joke with elements of spazzed-out Space Jazz (the utterly demented, squalling saxophone on ‘B0T0XDR0NE$’ sounds more like the warning howls of airborne ordnance dropping upon your unsuspecting head then the seductive sex horn it normally is) and a heavily Industrial bent in the punishing, slow, machine-like tempos the record is played at. Off-key piano opens the record on ‘Gore Orphanage’ and returns (as does the non-sexy squawky sex horn, although it is considerably less spasmodic the second time round) on the instrumental album closer ‘Nautilus’. The sound of sheets of metal being twatted with sledgehammers also resonates around the brainbox of the listener. All of these are Very Good Things. ‘Roses’ reminds this writer of The Jesus And Mary Chain if they played Metal and that is a fucking masterstroke right there as it melds Punk fury and Metal rage together with an angry, snapping vocal. Dark Juan likes dissonance and feeling like the music he is listening to has been slowed by forty percent by the massive quantities of Quaaludes he has ingested, except Lotus Thrones do it with the added bonus of not irreparably fucking my liver up.

Lotus Thrones are not Goth though. Sure, they incorporate the Goth aesthetic into the music but they are far more Industrial than Goth, and they are also far more Metal! Imagine, if you please, the guitar work on the likes of “Vision Thing” and anything by Fields Of The Nephilim and then think what it might sound like if a Metal band got hold of it and wrung the neck out of the music and added a misanthropic quality only normally attained by Scandinavian Black Metal bands after being told that they aren’t trve Black Metal. THAT is what Lotus Thrones’ sound is. 

It should also be noted that Lotus Thrones represent the spasmodic musical outpourings of a single man – Heath Rave is the name of this singularly deranged individual, and the only help he had on this record was the saxophone stylings of one Bruce Lamont. Otherwise, everything was performed by this fucking annoyingly talented person, who I will now hate forever because I am shit at writing songs and playing instruments. Arsehole. And he can sing too, this voice being an almost disinterested baritone intoning the lyrics in a sepulchral fashion. What a bastard.

To make it even worse, this is a masterfully produced and engineered album. Everything is beautifully easy to hear, even during the really noisy bits and the whole thing is an absolute joy from the opening notes to the closing echoes. “The Heretic Souvenir” is an album of polar opposites converging – it is staggeringly cold and inhuman yet overpoweringly emotional, furiously angry yet languid to the point of being liquid and heavier than a Russian battleship filled with exploding Ukrainian ordnance yet retaining a disarming, epic feeling of flight. It really is a fucking masterpiece and Dark Juan would have given both testicles to Satan to have even written one of these songs, let alone an album’s worth.

Metallic Industrial Gothic Post-Punk? Yes, please. Dark Juan needs more of this in his life. Lotus Thrones are the band that have been the soundtrack to the perversions running through his head and didn’t even know it. Buy this album. That is a command.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can do nothing else but award Lotus Thrones a big fat 10/10 for a record that is so perfect it belongs at the right hand of God.

01. Gore Orphanage
02. B0T0XDR0NE$
03. Alpha Centauri
04. Glassed
05. Roses
06. Autumn of The Heretic Souvenir
07. Nautilus

Heath Rave – Fucking everything apart from the saxophone. I am offended.


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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