The punch of thrash, the lyrical mysticism of doom, the monastic stylization of goth rock and the angular grooves of industrial music. Individually each one of these heavy rock subgenres is a force to be reckoned with, but when wrapped together in the epic new single “Suck You In” by up and coming metal singer Lana Blac, they make for a hybrid that will literally destroy anything that comes in its path. Blac’s debut album Nocturnal is a leviathan of an LP; its content is diverse, multilayered and exotically packaged in a firm but generously well-produced format, and this song perhaps captures its acerbic artistry better than any other in its track listing. Defined not by its booming drums or gruff guitar, “Suck You In” is a testament to Blac’s skills as an original songwriter and surprisingly agile singer in a genre sadly dominated by replicators in as of late.
The relationship between the bassline and the drums is a major focal point in this track. While the bass is fine with hanging back in the shadow of the guitar and generating the gravity in the grooves, the drums are impatient and competitive, trying everything they can to stamp out the effect of the other instruments. In this sense Lana Blac is sort of like a sonic referee – she’s keeping everything moving at an even pace through her simplistic execution behind the microphone, while the submissive bass and the abusive drumming create their own set of theatrics to entrance us and keep us glued to our speakers.
Most metalheads will tell you that technique is just as essential to making a solid metal song as amplifiers or distortion pedals are, but the virtuosity in “Suck You In” doesn’t come from some crazy lead guitar fashioned in 80’s flange and pre-amp compression. The arrangement of the instruments is solely responsible for creating the shake and quake of this track; the guitar isn’t mixed beside the bass – it’s basically on top of it. The drums and vocals are the only elements on a level playing field, and everything else is piled on top of each other in a massive pyramid of acoustic violence that exudes as much exuberance as it devours from those in the figurative mosh pit.
Profoundly produced with an ethereal radiance that has more in common with contemporary experimental punk bands than it does Headbanger’s Ball invitees, “Suck You In” tests the parameters of post-punk complexity and heavy metal forcefulness without ever diving into avant-garde excess. Blac gives us an iconic vocal in this song that towers above what many of hard rock’s toughest critics would anticipate in this era, and I think it wouldn’t be that farfetched to suggest that she could likely take on more angst-ridden and visceral material in the future and manage it as brilliantly as she does here. Songs like this one are what have made Nocturnal the breakout release that it’s become this autumn, and having been a metal fan most of my life I can confidently say that you’d be hard pressed to find a single shaped by as diverse a musical profile as this one is.
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