For a band named after the Ancient Greek personification of apathy and laziness, Lotus Eater have been anything but. It certainly helps that the rise of bands like Cane Hill and Loathe has given their grisly, nu-metal-flavoured hardcore a significant boon, but it would be unfair to judge such success entirely on outward forces. Rather, the Scottish mob’s success has been slowly accumulating for a while now, not only becoming the first heavy British act to sign to Hopeless Records, but also releasing a self-titled EP in 2017 that set the wheels in motion for the thunderous, crushing noise this band can create. Even with a sound that, given the strength of the scene, feels more in-demand than ever now, Lotus Eater have the potential to deliver, and if all goes right, Social Hazard could be the leg up needed for them to become one of the next crucial forces in modern heavy music.
And if they’re not there yet, they’re pretty much in spitting distance, as Social Hazard really looks like a band pushing themselves in all the right ways. Through elements of hardcore, tech-metal and whatever else they decide to throw in, there’s something so sharp about Lotus Eater’s sound, resting on the knife-edge of pure vivisection of the underground in the same way as a band like Vein, and complete collapse that they’d still make sound utterly thrilling. That’s not to say that they don’t tilt into the latter either, but for the most part, Social Hazard really is putting in some serious work when it comes to Lotus Eater defining themselves and ripping out a place in the scene for them to occupy.
Of course, that’s a testament to how the whole package works, but even on the most fundamental level, the core of darkness and desperate, calamitous violence feels so well-realised. It’s easy to attribute a lot of it to the production and its grim, metallic grind that whirrs and gnashes on tracks like Freak, but from simple execution, Lotus Eater feel so forceful and menacing in their intent. The guitar tone on its own does a fair amount of lifting as the deep nu-metal rumble is mangled and contorted on Thug for a first impression that really lasts, and accompanied by the lyrical content and Jamie McLees’ savage vocal delivery that push them right into true deadliness. But then there’s the technicality, and although the earlier comparisons to Vein would imply at something touching on the same exceptional level, it’s easy to see a more fragmented approach to Lotus Eater that doesn’t feel as purposeful and begins to tip into the zone of a newer band still finding their feet. That’s not to say it’s bad though; there’s an angularity to Yuck that really makes the most of what Lotus Eater have in their arsenal, and the fusion of Slipknot-style rage with a potent industrial finish on The Fear is probably the best moment here, if only because it shows the extent that this band are already willing to go to. They mightn’t always get there – the fact that two of these seven tracks are little more instrumental fragments can break this EP up a bit too much – but the ambition and the bloody-mindedness behind make Lotus Eater more than worthy of keeping an eye on.
And that’s ultimately where this EP falls; it’s not quite great just yet and could do with a tad more tightening, but at its core, there’s a band here showing a boldness and clear disdain for the rulebook that are well on their way to thriving. If nothing else, Social Hazard feels like the prelude to something truly huge for this band, as nu-metal continues to be revived and evolved and hardcore manages to contort itself into even more manic forms, both of which see Lotus Eater standing on the precipice of and ready to take the plunge. This is a band for whom 2019 could be incredibly kind to, and off this evidence, they deserve every bit of success coming their way.
For fans of: Slipknot, Loathe, Vein
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Social Hazard’ by Lotus Eater is released on 29th March on Hopeless Records.