Review: Loxe – Prosa Poética (self-released, Jan 10)

When I left the Lightning Bolt show I attended at Cleveland’s Grog Shop (opened by Aaron Dilloway) in 2018, I was holding half of a splintered drumstick and had more than a few drops of blood that didn’t belong to me on my shirt—just a few clues as to the kind of hell the Brians raise. No, it wasn’t my blood, but it definitely could have been, because for several songs near the beginning of the set I was right up against the stage, just inches from the razor sharp edge of Chippendale’s battered cymbal (several of his had chunks taken out, can’t remember how jagged this one was) which several times came close to giving me at best a nasty case of tetanus and at worst a facial rearrangement. But memories like this remind us that violence—the controlled, consented-to kind that is—is a crucial element of the catharsis that live performances of extreme music provide, not just in the actions of the crowd but in the playing of the music itself. What a powerful thing it would be to successfully recreate that dangerous physicality in a studio recording, right? Some records have, but the unhinged, unpredictable volatility of being a physical witness is often obscured. Loxe, a new band from Tokyo, lays waste to this challenge with the brutally abrasive approach they took to recording their debut album Prosa Poética, which allows the guitars to not just chug, but pound; the already filthy-sounding harsh vocals to resemble someone coughing up blood and bits of metal; the cymbals to assail the ears with junkyard blade sharpness. There’s little to do other than close your eyes and enjoy the sensation of being crushed; like fellow Japanese shredders Friendship, the music has the same punishing, overwhelming force whether it’s blasting at full speed like a turret-mounted machine gun or beating the floor with merciless sludge breakdowns. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that Loxe appears to have formed during a time when crowded pits aren’t exactly a possibility, especially in their country; I don’t think I even want to know what they can stir up.