03. Poly Viral
04. Big Open
07. Shower Me With Your Love
08. Boundary Dissolution
2007 Lifeforce Records
One part Mastodon. One part Sepultura. One part Cave In. All parts rock. As far as a band's combination of musical influences goes, it doesn't get much better than that of Atlanta's Light Pupil Dilate. And when it's all wrapped up in the form of a tight, thundering power-trio, the result might just be a heavy music fan's wet dream.
"Prana," Snake Wine's opener, rumbles out of the gate and locks into a jarring riff similar to those of the guys in American Heritage before progressing into an intense, bass-driven verse accompanied by hoarse vocals and forceful drumming. No instrument is overshadowed, and LPD's brand of abrasive, metal-influenced rock is as well-written as it is technically proficient. Not surprisingly, the list of standout parts is far too great to list in its entirety. "Twinkly" offers up impressive drumming and dissonant riffing, while the atmospheric feel of "Dive" could easily draw a few Jupiter-era Cave In comparisons. The early moments of "Shower Me With Your Love" sound like Fugazi on steroids, and the complementary guitar work over the distorted bass lines of "Big Open" is just one of the many Jesus Lizard inspired passages heard throughout Snake Wine.
Instrumentally, this is some of the best songwriting to be released upon the heavy music scene in recent memory. Songs are accentuated by dynamic shifts between melody and grit in a fluid-like manner, a true indicator of the 'progressive musicianship' quality that so many bands advertise, yet so few actually achieve. And influences aren't just combined; they're seamlessly meshed into a sonically destructive bulldozer of an album that's both pulverizing and memorable.
But alas, there is a catch. LPD's dual vocal approach leaves something to be desired, as the fairly even mix of clean singing with throaty screams throughout the record may be a bit difficult to digest for some. Though the gruff vocals fit nicely, the Tool-esque singing is not nearly as appealing as the rest of the aspects of the disc. Of course, listeners unopposed to that vocal style will have no trouble embracing the singing on Snake Wine, but for the rest, its presence could be slightly polarizing. Nevertheless, LPD has offered up a hell of a meaty rock record here, and the instrumentation itself is more than worthy of checking out.
Bottom Line: Light Pupil Dilate combine a number of notable influences, ranging from The Jesus Lizard to Mastodon, and have created a finely executed monster of a rock record that is a must have for fans who love a wide range of heavy music. The vocals might not be completely satisfying, but the trio's instrumentation is nothing short of superb. This is a band that deserves some attention.