Lo-Pan - In Tensions - (8.5/10)
Published on January 28, 2017
Lo-Pan are a Stoner Rock/Metal quartet from Ohio and In Tensions is the latest in what has been a steady stream of quality albums for the band. Although this is not a style of music with a ton of innovation, it is one of the most consistent styles in the business and no two bands sound exactly alike. What it lacks in innovation, it makes up for with big riffs that compel you to nod your head to the beat. This is not music you listen to while sitting alone in a dark corner of the room. This is music you blast over the loudspeakers and share with your friends and neighbors. Picture yourself driving down the highway at 70 mph with the windows down. This is the kind of music you want playing on your car stereo.
Lo-Pan has always had a fuzzed-out heavy sound with a slightly thin guitar tone similar to Karma to Burn. It is a sound that has worked very well for them in the past but In Tensions sees the band stripping away some of the fuzz in favor of thicker, heavier riffs. This is the band’s first release with guitarist Chris Thompson so he probably had something to do with the slight sonic change. While In Tensions lacks some of the diversity present on their past albums, the more straightforward heavy sound of these songs could propel the band to new heights. Another change is that these songs have uplifting melodies. The melodies of their past work are not exactly dark but there is a greater sense of happiness and fun in the melodies on this release.
Jesse’s drum work on this release is superb for the style, revving the tempo of each song along with Skot’s killer bass lines. Jeff Martin’s vocals are particularly standout, bringing a very healthy dose of soul to these songs, especially on “Alexis” and “Pathfinder”. His soaring vocals remind me a great deal of Torche’s Harmonicraft, especially on the fantastic opener, “Go West.” The blistering 22 minutes of music that makes up this EP is chalk full of stellar riffs, soaring vocals, great lyrics and inspired rhythms. In Tensions is the band’s best work to date and will surely propel them to new heights for the next stage of their career.