Loma Prieta - Self Portrait (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Loma Prieta

Self Portrait (2015)


Loma Prieta's I.V. was one of the most incensed yet contemplative records I heard over the last four years or so. It possessed a beautiful rage I can only compare to bands like fellow San Franciscans, Deafheaven, and Alcest. Bands like Pianos Become The Teeth also kick around that area but Loma Prieta really stand out as one of the more subversive bands when it comes to metal, punk and hardcore colliding. Self Portrait is no different and focuses on light as opposed to dark. But thematically, it's everything you knew Loma Prieta. Not quite as stellar as their earlier material but still very hard-hitting.

"Love" opens up things and as Guitarist/vocalists Brian Kanagaki and Sean Leary detail its contrast to hate, instantly you can see how much their writing's improved (not that it was ever shoddy to begin with). Like most of the tracks, it's bleak, honest and intense. However, it sets off on directing you down Loma Prieta's newer path which is one based on more melody. Sure, it's noisy, dissonant and distorted as fuck but there's a vibrancy and incandescent feel emanating from the songs, with much more emotion. "Net Gain" echoes this sentiment as well as "More Perfect". The back-end of the record possess a lot more mid/slow tempos jammed in, amplifying the experimental route Self Portrait wanders down and its these risks that feel the stronger points of the record. They add new life and fresh breath which Loma Prieta didn't necessarily need but it's a double-edged sword as these songs are done so well, you simply want more of them.

"Never Remember" is one of their most catchy tracks, which is heavily steeped in the post-hardcore realm, and nods quite a bit to Touche Amore. Same can be said for "Satellite" which helps rounds things off a la Is Survived By (again from the books of Jeremy Bolm and team). It kicks off with a shocking indie-pop feel before this dreamy vibe explodes into familiar territory. It's a sudden shift but again, like so many of their quiet to loud jams, it's a dynamic that works and one that as surprising as it gets, is something Loma Prieta pulls off well.  I found one or two tracks to be a bit filler and at times, you're drowned out but overall, this record, while not as solid as their older material, is still quite an experience. Dig in.