Review: “Social Hazard” EP by Lotus Eater

Technically an album as it features 7 tracks which is what streaming services use to gauge the difference between an EP and an album, but clocking in at just 15 minutes, the highly anticipated new release from Glaswegian Gloom crew Lotus Eater is finally here! It’s been a crazy 2 years since their self titled debut EP appeared and the band were snapped up by Hopeless Records off the back of that. We’ve had the fortune to see them live twice in that time and they’ve shared stages with Deathcore heavyweights Traitors and The Last Ten Seconds of Life in that time, as well as smaller UK acts like Parting Gift, God Complex and of course Blood Youth.

The first surprise in reading the track listing is that of the 4 singles released since the EP, “Branded” and “Break It” don’t appear. They would have added an extra 5 minutes and 55 seconds to the recordings length and taken it over that 20 minute mark. The next interesting thing is that there is no guest appearance, something which is rare in the genre and having had Scolds and I, The Mapmaker frontman Ash Emery appear live with them on a couple of occasions it seemed like that pairing could happen again. Oh and does the cover art take any inspiration from “Smile” by Cane Hill?

The 62 second opening burst that is “Thug” is an instrumental of jagged riffs and buried electronics that sets a dark atmospheric tone with a sample loop cutting back like a tape on rewind. First track proper “Yuck” then kicks in with an energetic bouncy groove riff and the bands usual guitar tricks, squeals and noise. Bridging the verse and chorus with a melodic break gives a momentary breather before a flourish of frenetic riffs bounce off each other like bullet ricochets in a fire fight. Pre-release single “The Fear” bursts from its programmed into with Nu-Metalcore riffs a plenty and an off kilter trip-hop inspired drum pattern that gives the song a sense of schizophrenia. The buried electronics that keep interweave the tracks break up the track before some savage breakdowns close things out with a horror film flourish.

“Freak” brings some off kilter riffage and continues the frenetic pace of an EP of short sharp shocks. There are hints at Nu-Metal introspection in the lyrics and some pounding kit work from Cameron Humphrey gives a canvas for the guitar battery to paint on. The song is like it’s title. Freakishly good. Second pre-released single “Mother” uses some pause break guitars to build a darkness during the intro that repeats later on and allows the following juddering riffage to have even greater impact. The beauty of the band is that within each moment of each song, you have no idea what’s happening next. The structures are there with enough to make things cohesive but absent enough to free their creativity. The result is a fantastic flow and the skillful avoidance of sounding like a car crash.

30 second instrumental “Words.Nothing” is essentially an intro for “Jawless” that has been cut off. It has an eerie horror vibe that is smashed by opening salvo of the final track. The longest cut at 3 minutes and 27 seconds though it is clear the band could do longer songs if they wanted to. This one features the Deftones or Loathe esq influenced backing vocals from Humphrey that add a sense of melloncholic introspection and are in stark contrast to the majority of the other material. It’s still a heavy cut and even has a downtempo breakdown groove to close things out. Phenomenal [8/10]

“Social Hazard” by Lotus Eater is out now via Hopeless Records and available via iTunes. and bandcamp.

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