Limnus - The Nether EP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Nether EP (2009)

Where's My Contact?

Either because of its identifiable trappings, unique sound or distinct cadence, goth music can be difficult to merge with other styles, which sort of leads to a catch-22. If a band doesn't mix up new ideas into their more moires wailings, well, they're just another goth band. But, if they do inject some heat into the genre, they either look like they're not trying to be goth, or are just fiddling around to cover up a lack of songwriting abilities. Strikingly, the Bay Area's Limnus weave gothic structures into more traditional hardcore and create a beast that is both distinct as well as recognizable.

On their debut release, The Nether EP, the band acknowledges both its Bauhaus/Dead Can Dance education with their Bad Religion leanings. Although the band kicks off with a rapid circle pit inducer, on the same song, they morph into an almost baroque, evenly paced dirge. The band continues this skill throughout the EP until where it is most noticeable on "Coffin Nails", where the band snaps from a thrasher directly into a masterful soundscape, complete with distant violins and hushed wails (and I'm a big fan of scary soundscapes).

While Limnus strategically and successfully mixes the hard with the harrowing, sometimes their juxtapositions can be a little jarring. For example, "A Darkened Road" starts off as a '80s-style hardcore attack complete with screamed vocals, when suddenly, the vocals become a wail of goth music while the band continues its thrashing, which doesn't quite seem to work. Instead of a meld, it almost seems like someone sampled vocals on top of a hardcore instrumental without concern for whether or not they would respond to each other.

Limnus might still be finding their footing, but if their trend of mixing different styles together continues and they allow the melange to flow naturally, they'll be one of the first bands to successfully blend punk's energy with goth's ennui, which is one hell of a feat in and of itself.