I.V., the latest full-length from Bay Area-based quartet Loma Prieta makes few attempts to rid itself of screamo's typical bearings-- pained screams and angst-driven emotions abound-- but if any one of its traits falls into the divergent boundary, it's the sonic design. The band's production mainstay Jack Shirley coats the album in overdrive, rendering each feedback interval and guitar scrape more abusive with progression. It's no surprise that I.V. has found a home on Jacob Bannon's Deathwish label, because its in-the-red visage places the band in league with earlier Converge output.
Loma Prieta exhibit many preexisting facets of post-hardcore, screamo, and metal, but how the album intertwines them is what makes their presence so remarkable. The uncompromising temperament of pg.99 and corybantic interplay a la Orchid come to mind during these 24 minutes. To claim that either of the aforementioned acts have found a direct passage into Loma Prieta's inspiration would be a stretch, because a prevalent sense of singularity pervades I.V.
"Fly By Night" exerts a sharp, persistent pummel and attains hope before bowing out. Not only serving as an exhilarating introduction, the song violently tugs the listener from one mood to another at a breakneck pace. And brevity is one of I.V.'s most redeeming characteristics, prominently tackled throughout the mid-album trilogy: "Momentary" savagely blasts and exhales, snowballing into the daunting blitzkrieg of "Half Cross", its vehemence elevated on "Forgetting", where its volume reaches a corroding summit.
As maximal as the suite is, Loma Prieta are at their most profound during the closing triptych. Aching guitar chords pierce in tandem with an acute rhythm section in the midst of "Aside From This Distant Shadow, There Is Nothing Left". Fervent melodies punctuate "Biography"'s vigor in a course comparable to that of Touché Amoré. The forlorn dirge "Diamond Toot" closes I.V. as it trudges onward into silence. Unjustly lodged into a corner of music condemned for sappy sentiments, Loma Prieta counter that stigma with towering amplification and sincerity.
[Loma Prieta Myspace]
[Buy I.V. from Deathwish Inc.]