So I’ve been jamming Somnia, the second album from LAIKA quite a bit lately. Out now via Filth Regime Records, this is an interesting slab o’melodic death metal that really doesn’t take its foot off the gas for its eight full songs. Hailing from Canada the six-piece keep it heavy while also adding keys to the mix. This serves to accentuate the heavy with a firm dose of underlying melody. If you don’t at first, upon repeated listenings you’ll also get a prog feel as the band is wont to go off in several different directions leaving you saying, “Huh? What?” Whether or not you think that’s a good or bad thing it was refreshing to this particular listener I can tell you that much.
“Escalation of Terror” gives us one of the record’s strongest tracks right out of the gate and the vocals of Jordan Dorge are raw and angry, as they should be. This guy’s got some acid in his veins, no question. Plus, you can understand every word, something we don’t get too often! Title track “Somnia” is also heavy as balls and was one of my standouts as well. The guitar work and RUSH-circa-1980 bass lines on “Fidelity” were a welcome sight for weary ears as well. Actually, if we’re being honest Mike Mason’s bass sound was one of my most favoritest things about this record. It gave me that back in the day feeling, which is always fun.
And while we’re staying honest I wasn’t a big fan of “Caligae A Galea” because it just never really felt like it was going anywhere. Not terrible, but not wonderful, either. But I’ll tell you what IS wonderful: the instrumental “Dream of Nothing”. Steve Tedham’s synth starts things off with a piano effect and soon the rest of the band comes in sounding at times like a heavier RUSH once again, which is absolutely a compliment. Ian Garraway slices through the air with a biting riff that keeps going all through “The Immortal” in yet another winning track. The metronomic drumming of Blair Garraway anchors “Predictions (Tide Bearer)” to go with more killer riffs along with that eerie synth once again. Dorge’s growl is in full force here, and the tempo changes will get most people pretty pumped up.
Blair’s drums once again are front and center for closer “Invaders”. I dunno who mic’d them, but well done! It’s got a rhythm made for banging the heads to and is a fitting way to end things. All told, LAIKA did a great job with Somnia and other than one song I didn’t love and an intro I could have done without (sometimes it’s best to just get to the metal!) I can honestly say that this is a band that’s going places. And quite frankly the fact that they remain unsigned is a bit of a head-scratcher. Someone should snatch these guys up quickly.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Escalation of Terror”, “Dream of Nothing’, “The Immortal”, “Somnia”, “Fidelity”