Light Pupil Dilate: Artist Profile

The last of the original thirteen American colonies to become officially part of the USA, Georgia used to famous only for its peaches and peanuts but since the turn of century has begun kicking out some of the most talented and innovative metal bands on the scene today. Georgia is the home of southern rock and blues tinged Sludge, a particular subgenre style that has risen from obscurity into the alternative mainstream with the rise and rise of bands such as Baroness and Mastodon.

This southern groove resonates particularly strongly with the metalreceptors deep in the AdrenoCraniums of this site, and to break the tension caused by all the excitement and suspense surrounding the upcoming Baroness release we’ve been delving deeper into some of their contemporaries and come across some interesting fellows by the name of Light Pupil Dilate.

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Light Pupil Dilate formed in 2001, consisting of Eric Searle (guitar, vocals), Mike Chvasta (bass, vocals) and Michael Green (drums). Despite there being just the three of them, LPD were able to make a great deal of noise fusing post-punk, hardcore punk, metal, and space rock in a way that gave them similar appeal but still differentiated them from other progressive and sludge bands of the generation.

Unfortunately no longer playing together, LPD had released a debut EP, Neck skin (2001) and two solid albums, Cascades (2003) and Snake Wine (2007), both of which can be found on Spotify. They played their final show on July 30, 2010 at the legendary Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta, Ga.

LPD’s particular brand of southern sludge was neither as progressive as Mastodon nor as melodic as Baroness, and it must be said that their recorded material, especially their second album, is a bit hit and miss with some great parts and a few not so great parts. However, whilst this is likely why they haven’t enjoyed similar success, they remain a band well worth checking out both for the calibre of their great tracks and as adding greater depth to the scene as it was.

Cascades (2003)

Of the two, I’d have to say I prefer Cascades, the album has a stronger character and is more solid overall, with much greater focus on the heavy grooves of Chvasta’s bass. Stand out tracks include ‘Spanning’, opening with punk-infused verses before a midpoint funk jazz breakdown that flows into some heavy doom before returning to the opening themes. The bass driven ‘Timeless’ follows, exhibiting some awesome cymbal work and crunching verse riffage. ‘Well Aware’ displays the bands scope for creativity in their sonic explorations whilst (comparatively) short but sweet ‘Disengage’ lays thrashy choruses over groovy bass licks.

Snake Wine (2007)

Snake Wine as a whole comes across a bit confused; the stylistic differences between the two albums suggests that LPD may have been trying too hard to emulate the distinctive sound of the recent Mastodon release Blood Mountain, and to a lesser extent possibly Leviathan, with greater focus on the vocals and lightning drum fills amongst other indicators. That being said, there’s lots of good stuff present; stand out tracks include opener ‘Prana’ that switches artfully between thrash and doomy atmospheric throughout, the relentlessly heavy and technical ‘Shower Me With Your Love’, whilst ‘Dive’ builds excellently to make for a strong close.

It’s a shame that things didn’t work out for Light Pupil Dilate, drummer Michael Green has gone on to play for a fairly budget thrashy death metal band by the name of Wolves and Jackals, whilst Eric and Chvasta have gone on to play in Palaces, a straight-up hardcore three piece. So there we are. Get on Spotify, have a listen and tell us what you think!

NF

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