ancient words resurrected in song
Formed in 2012, Lotus Thief weaves a union of doom, post-rock, black metal and ambient sound, each song a tribute to the voices of the past.
The first single, "Nymphaea Carulea" - based on Homer's "The Odyssey" - was released on Botanist's "Doom in Bloom". The band then recorded critically‐acclaimed “Rervm”, based on the 55 BCE philosophical piece “De Rerum Natura”, at The Atomic Garden Studios (Deafheaven, Bosse‐de‐Nage). "Rervm" was released on Svart Records (Acid King, Oranssi Pazuzu) in 2014 with strong critical reception.
In 2016, Lotus Thief released its second full‐length, “Gramarye”, based on ancient texts of sorcery and paganism, on Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Lantlôs, Negura Bunget). The release of "Gramarye" marked a cohesive step in Lotus Thief's journey as something more than a singular blip in genre-bending metal music, but as a sound world unto itself.
LT formed a live 5-player lineup to tour US West and East Coasts, with a debut European performance at Prophecy Fest in Balve, Germany. In 2017, the group expanded to a 6-player lineup to record several future releases, honing the powerful sound into groundbreaking music, beginning with its next release, Oresteia, released alongside the Rervm re-issue on January 10th, 2020 via Prophecy Productions.
"Oresteia" was mixed & mastered by Colin Marston at The Thousand Caves, New York City. It retells Aeschylus' famed tragedy, "The House of Atreus" / "Oresteia Trilogy", 5th century BCC, a tragic epic tale that rails into human violence, heroism and betrayal.
“Lovers of post‐rock, post‐black metal and the more experimental end of prog metal should investigate….The music of this duo from San Francisco is a vortex from Space Rock of Hawkwind brand, psychedelic influences and Ambient Shock therapy. Completely free of conventions, quite disturbing and at the same time fascinating”
‐ Metal Hammer
“As the unrelenting grip of stupidity tightens around America’s most hallowed institutions ‐ churches, schools, legislatures... and the like ‐ it’s hard not to notice that metal and its affinities just fucking keep getting smarter. Consider Lotus Thief’s Rervm ‐ a beautifully crafted adaptation of Titus Lucretius Carus’ epic philisophical poem (and groundbreaking work of natural philosophy).”
‐ Decibel Magazine
"Let's be honest: on paper Rervm sounds like it could be an exercise in intense, musical wankery. It's a fusion of metal, space rock and ambient tones backing a translation‐based retelling of a 1st century work by a Roman poet and philosopher. Read that again...but once the cynical scoffing has subsided, you'll discover that this is an intoxicating and often beautiful record."
“If anything, Lotus Thief’s debut ‘Rervm’ has achieved its desired distinction from Botanist’s hammered dulcimer‐driven black metal ‐ not to mention pretty much every other band out there. Spanning a wide spectrum of contrasting sounds such as space rock (especially Bezaelith’s ethereal vocals) and minimalist black metal, ‘Rervm’ isn’t easily defined, yet there’s a conscious thought paid to maintaining cohesion, both
musically and thematically.”
‐ Terrorizer Magazine
“The music drives with power, but it’s driving the space lanes rather than any earthbound highway —a course that become unmistakably clear with three minutes left, when the pistons stop and the song glides like a satellite in orbit, a cosmic dream
‐ No Clean Singing
"This is a fantastic album in the true spirit of the San Francisco music scene –left of centre, forward thinking and inspired –well worth forking out your money to hear this in
its glory. Certainly an auspicious start to this fledgling band's career.”
‐ Cvlt Nation
“What if I said that Otrebor's perfectly cacophonous drumming and Bezaelith's vast and almost choral vocals envelope the widely differing musical elements in such a compelling way that, even weather you get it or not, you're going to be coming back to this record again and again over the next 11 months at least?”
‐ The Quietus
“The San Francisco bay area continues to prove itself a fruitful orchard of outside‐the‐box extreme music. Case in point, the debut album by this secretive duo...Rervm is a glimpse into an inviting and familiar musical landscape, but one that keeps revealing new surprises with each listen.”
‐ Invisible Oranges
"A warm post black metal sound is their starting point for slightly sludgy and groovy songs. Intricately structured, graced with often angelic sounding female vocals..."
‐ Lords of Metal
"Exploring a dynamic range so profound that sans headphones it's easy to assume play was curtailed between tracks, 'Rervm' is the blossoming of a tremendous marriage of minds."
‐ Iron Fist
"Initially, my thought was “this is cool, but perhaps would benefit from an increased instrumental focus”, but this changed upon repeated listens. I will admit I’m not normally a fan of female vocals –I can’t really articulate why, but dammit if the vocalist isn’t incredible. All these interesting multi tracked harmonies and alternate lines, letting the guitars breathe, soaked in reverb, these fascinating incantations that consistently
evoke all this sort of fascinating myst...ery and enigma. Atmosphere is a subjective term, I know that, but it is super applicable here, it’s a very spacey, very deep album, bringing forth all those strange thoughts of creation and infinity and death and etc etc etc that’s not all that different from when you stare at the night sky for a bit too long."
‐ The Sleeping Shaman
“The music drives with power, but it’s driving the space lanes rather than any
earthbound highway —a course that become unmistakably clear with three
minutes left, when the pistons stop and the song glides like a satellite in orbit, a cosmic
dream unfolding. I’m not even going to try to classify the music in genre terms. When you hear it, maybe you’ll understand why. And it would be equally pointless to force the other songs into pigeonholes —they would wriggle free. You’ll see.”
‐ No Clean Singing , 2014 Most Infectious Extreme Metal List
“ if I tell you that Rervm is a translation based retelling of 'De Rerum Natura' (or 'On The Nature Of Things') by the 1st century BC Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius, set to a musical score that sounds something like what Hawkwind would've produced if Dave Brock had attended the Darmstadt school in the time of Olivier Messiaen, then that sounds like an answer on fucking University Challenge, and you might wonder what place Lotus Thief have in this column… But, what if I was to tell you that, in fact, Lotus Thief are a duo comprised of Botanist's Otrebor and his one‐time touring bassist Bezaelith –who you might remember also lent her exceptional musical talents to the collaborative second disc of Botonist's Doom In Bloom –and that the six tracks of Rervm seamlessly and serenely ebb and flow between moments of spaced‐out, blackened doom, gently penetrating ambience and blissful field recordings? What if I said that
Otrebor's perfectly cacophonous drumming and Bezaelith's vast and almost choral vocals envelope the widely differing musical elements in such a compelling way that, even weather you get it or not, you're going to be coming back to this record again and again over the next 11 months at least?...”
‐ The Quietus
“To be honest, though, I connected with this album on a more emotional level. I got my hands on the promo a day before going in for surgery, so I was in a bit of a distracted state before and after. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, Bezaelith's vocals on this album were a major comfort to me in the hours immediately before and after the actual operation. They're cleanly sung, and she often harmonizes with a veritable chorus of other Bezaeliths. If you can listen to the opening vocal lines of "Aeternvm" without your
heart melting at least a little, I don't know what to do with you. It's made all the more satisfying when the subtle underlying percussion suddenly bursts into furious Otreborian blasting immediately after.”
‐ Metal Bandcamp
“Fully comprehending the multifaceted concept of this grandiose collection is not essential to taking pleasure from the songs herein as these deeply emotive compositions are supported by an outstanding vocal performance which lures you into its vespertine grasp. ‘Miseras’ bedrock of visceral blastbeats seems an odd foundation on which to build cinematic ethereal textures, yet somehow the duo manage to make this make complete sense. Fashioning a rich tapestry of subtle melodies and haunting ambience, this album dares tread a ground where few heavy bands dare inhabit. “Oh wretched minds, oh blinded hearts” croons Bezaelith. This seductive chanteuse possesses an eerie ability to conjure transcendent beauty in a manner few, save Jex Thoth, are able to muster. Lush arrangements are gracefully realised eloquently and make for stimulating listening with or without the highbrow concept behind it. The hypnotic voice of Bezaelith works wonders, conjuring many emotions on this esoteric journey into the beyond.”
‐ Ghost Cult Magazine
“The album kicks off with the heavy riffing of “Aeternvm” creating a very hypnotic passage that is later complemented with brilliant atmospheric elements and female vocals. The drumming still has that Botanist edge to it, but it is far less chaotic and fits the music perfectly. There are some trippy atmospheric sounds here and there that nicely complement the atmosphere of this track. Things pick up with “Miseras”
and its Sludge/Alt‐Rock vibe, showing a different side of the band while retaining its atmospheric uniqueness.
Moving into Psychedelic/Space Rock territories, “Discere Credas” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the trippy music and raspy female vocals. This track also has a certain Amesoeurs vibe that instantly engaged us. Things keep getting better with the Doomy “Lvx”, a song that reminded us of Jex Thoth meets Theater of Tragedy
(Aegis‐era). The experimental “Discordia” pushes the limits a bit when trying new things while still fitting cohesively with the rest of the release.
“Rervm” closes with the Sludgy/Post‐Metal “Mortalis”, a track filled with fuzzy riffs and some creepy whispers. In general, Lotus Thief has managed to deliver one of the most
interesting releases of 2014 and we are glad we gave them a chance even after featuring (all) the members of Botanist, heck, we might even give Botanist a new try. If you are looking for an engaging female‐fronted release that will catch you off‐guard and will keep you guessing, look no further and pick up a copy of this solid release.”
‐ Infernal Masquerade
"utterly beautiful, distorted stoner rock."
Rervm is an album of heavy psychedelic rock, of some variety. Since I don’t listen to a whole lot of psychedelic rock, I can’t tell you whether it treads new ground or not. In a couple of places (“Lvx” and “Mortalis”) it reminds me somewhat of Crippled Black Phoenix, but simultaneously heavier and less Earthbound. The tracks hover around the eight‐minute mark, and sometimes attempt to induce a trance in a way that’s a second‐cousin to what some ambient black metal bands attempt. But some of these riffs are so
great they will wake you right up. Check “Miseras” especially, which threatens to go in a balls‐out rock direction a la Red Fang, but doesn’t forget what it’s really here to do.
The sound is deliciously raw but powerful, with more than its share of bass. And the female vocals are a nice touch, sometimes spacy but always swaggering. The jewel case sticker version of this story is: Heavy Psych‐Rock with Swagger. I recommend it for those who might enjoy mental space travel, but always want a rocking riff.”
‐ Full Metal Attorney
“Writing Lotus Thief off as just another post‐black metal band, however, would be a grave mistake. Elements of the genre certainly do exist on Rervm, their debut album,
but serve as more of a creative launch point than a genre template or set of
stylistic rules. This presents an album that’s as sprawling and varied as the story it tells, and one that seamlessly blends genres into a greater whole. The one constant are the ethereal, beautiful female vocals layered atop the varied instrumentation.”
‐ Heavy Blog is Heavy
“Putting on a record and having an experience you don’t anticipate and don’t know initially how to process can be an enthralling thing. With so many things today sounding so similar and records seeming to bleed into one another no matter the style, a record making your hairs stand on end and drink in every detail is a godsend...This album is cinematic, sonically gigantic, and a true inspiration for those of us who love when a
record transports us somewhere unexpected. “Rervm” does that every time you visit, and hopefully this is just the start of things for Lotus Thief. I can’t get over how much fun I have listening to this thing, and the fact that it’s based in so much more than sound makes the music something you can examine over and over and always come away with new ideas and ways to improve the section of Earth you inhabit.”
‐ Meat Mead Metal
“beautiful n’ bewildering majesty”
‐ New Noise Magazine
"The duo's debut is a retelling of On the Nature of Things by 1st century BC Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus, set to what could be tagged occult prog‐goth ‐ subtly ornamented and delicate, misleadingly disembodied, and not hell‐bent on strictly sounding all witchy and shit."
‐ Zero Tolerance Magazine
“Imagine a post rock Clannad, but with balls...it’s one helluva beautiful offering.”
“When someone usually says their music blends a range of styles, it leaves doubt in my mind. However, judging from this song, I think Rervm is going to be an important album.”
‐ Satan’s Music Box
“There are several ways to explore the great ambition of this first effort. As an
album the production quality was superb. The musicianship was excellent, made
even more so by the fact this was a two person effort. The vocals were pitch‐perfect, expertly produced and suited the particular nature of the piece. As an adaptation of a poem it certainly attempts to be as faithful as possible and given that it has to take 7400 lines and turn it into six seven minute songs, it manages to distill the core elements of
the text. This album is excellent irrespective of one’s knowledge of the original text, at once contemporary and reverential to the classics, and very much worth a listen, in the knowledge that you are unlikely to hear
anything else quite like this.”
‐ Get Your Rock Out, UK
“This band creates an equally fascinating as well as complex and difficult to access work that is likely to be discovered only by a handful of listeners. Maybe "Rervm" at the end is too special, too challenging or engaging ‐ there are many different ways to discover it and to approach it. Both as a direct link with the literary original, as well as a mere musical experience, one can see "Rervm’s” mindset. However one who takes the time and gets involved in this ambitious work, will be surprised with ever‐new details. In short: a listener "Rervm" hears everything needed in this album of such a shock and rewards. The very good production, the talent on the instruments, the good singing of Bezaelith and the potential to drive away from the music with the substance of De Rerum Natura, makes "Rervm" a winner”
‐ CDStarts.de (trans)
"progressive, hook‐laden and rocked‐out 70s guitar leads, electronic sprinkles, feral speed bursts, doom‐y bluesy low‐end, and haunting female vocals; a song that I might enjoy more than anything off of the first disc."
‐ Hellride Music
“A translation‐based retelling of De Rerum Natura (or On the Nature of Things) by the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus (1st century BC), San Franciscan duo Lotus Thief’s craft is one of mystery and mysticism. A melting pot of psychedelic rock, space rock, metal, and ambient, Rervm is more –much more –than what those petty genre tags can ever attempt to capture. Compositionally and instrumentally,
Otrebor and Bezaelith (both of Botanist) prove to be an exceptional pairing. Between seven and nine minutes long, each of the six tracks is a world, a universe of its own. Ever‐evolving, the structures, the dynamics, and the textures within each of them is organic, each an intricate part of something much bigger than the track, the album, and its creators. Expansive, emotive, evocative, and endlessly captivating, no doubt in part to the beautiful production, the album has an inviting warmth to it that gives it a depth into
which it is all‐the‐easier to succumb to. Graced with angelic airs, esoteric depths, and a rich sonic diversity, this is a more‐than‐impressive debut from a band that we should hope to hear more from.”
‐ The Midlands Rocks
“The gothy, slightly doom‐ish air maintains throughout, the vocals ethereal, reverberations of the haunting melodies of SubRosa here and there. Your mind wanders to Ides of Gemini, or perhaps Royal Thunder as potential pointers of where this lies, but it is in the jittery, slightly off‐kilter moments of recording, such as at the start of Discordia, that it removes itself a step from the norm. Artistically conjured, Rervm has a
mesmeric gravitas owed to it by its off centre approach to even the most standard of tracks that ensures this is an utterly compelling and enthralling release.”
"shimmery shoegaze‐influenced psychedelia"
‐ Metal Blast
“From San Francisco comes Lotus Thief, a doom/space rock/ambient duo who find themselves on the ever capable Svart Records roster, and seeing as how unusual this band is, it's the perfect home for them. Rervm is the band’s debut, and it's a
wildly exploratory collection of music, at times even quite puzzling. The duo is comprised of Bezaelith and Otrebor, and both also play in Botanist, but Lotus Thief is meant to be looked at and treated as completely separate entity. Labeling themselves 'text metal', Lotus Thief are looking to 'pass along the knowledge of superlative ancient texts' with their lyrics, and this debut as actually a 'translation‐based retelling of De Rerum Natura (or On the Nature of Things) by the Roman poet and philosopher Titus
Lucretius Carus, 1st century BC'. Do you care? Well, it matters not if you don't choose to closely follow the story here, as the music is pretty damn impressive, as hefty doom/post rock riffing collides with Hawkwind styled synth passages and haunting female vocals for a sound that is quite unique.”
‐ Sea of Tranquility
“Just as Deafheaven perfectly combined beautiful sound and black metal last year, so does Lotus Thief accomplish similar ‐ in its own way.”
‐ Visions Magazine, Germany (trans.)
“ If I were a golden dragon, I think I would shit this album in a big pile of rainbow‐colored diarrhea.”
‐ Imperium, Finland (trans.)
“It’s not often when picturing San Francisco that your brain offers up a score to said picturing that encapsulates in its vast re lms the low down depths of doom rock, the ambitious highs of space rock, the intricate details of progressive metal, the atmospheric spaciousness that comes from a little triple twist of ambient, goth, and black metal. Then again, maybe it does, I’ve never been to San Francisco apart from through the words and photos of my parents’ somethingth anniversary trip there. They didn’t paint quite the
scene fitting such a soundtrack, but San Franciscan duo Lotus Thief –Bezaelith and Otrebor ‐offer up that epic score with their debut album Rervm. It’s big, it’s bad, it’s here to take universal control, and damn your soul, but it’ll sound awesome doing so.”
‐ Cultured Vultures
“Doom rock is seldom so enchanted, so woven through with dark magic and melodies from the other side. Lotus Thief usher in a magical new era with "Rervm". "Rervm" is one of those rare albums that you only see coming when it hits you right between the eyes. The credit goes to Lotus Thief, a duo from the erstwhile hippie capital of the world San Francisco who have painted an evocative and ghostly picture of the city they know so well in six long pieces of music. The pair draw upon psychedelic rock, slow doom, clattering black metal and spacey post rock desolation, go for floating, monotonous and trance‐like, ethereal female vocals and mix in the power of dissonance. Like Jefferson Airplane on some really black doom trip. Beautiful stuff: fragile and elegiac, yet also threatening, disturbing and like something from another world. "Miseras" is slow
and under the influence of a gravitational pull from an unknown source while "Discere Credas" is ominous, mighty and rocks. A walk in the gap between two worlds, a masterpiece of doom‐laden rock that should not
‐ ArtistXite, Germany (trans.)
“An evocative surprise...please more of it”
‐ Rock Hard, Germany (trans.)
"Lotus Thief has its work cut out following Arborist but 'Nymphaea Carulea' is an excellent post‐rock black metal fusion piece combining a rapid rhythm, a raw
guitar sound, smooth lead guitar drones and shoegaze shimmer that recalls aspects of Caina and Alcest. Unexpected toughness and crunch coming hard on the softer melodic passages make this a highlight on the disc."
‐ The Sound Projector
“An epic metal opus, based on ancient Roman philosophical verse –Spinal Tap levels of hubris and folly, right? Well, no, as it turns out. Rervm is rather good. Pulling from doom, ambient and slowcore stylings, with more than a few nods towards the spaced‐out shimmer of nu‐psych, San Francisco’s Lotus Thief pull no punches in their sonic vastness. Inevitably bombastic –well, it is based on Lucretius’ De Rerem Natura –this thoroughly impressive debut transcends the supposedly‐ugly facets of crushingly
‐ The Skinny
“Svart Records have made a name for themselves this year by releasing some of 2014’s coolest albums, and Lotus Thief’s debut is right up there with the best of them. A psychedelic, riff‐fuelled voyage across the astral plain, Rervm draws from Hawkwind’s space rock, plus black metal, doom and ambient, and is enthralling throughout… given the pedigree of Lotus Thief’s members (Botanist’s Bezaelith and Otrebor) you’d expect it to be. With Lotus Thief’s trippy vibe, creepy album artwork and stated aim of resurrecting ancient stories, the duo could easily be lumped into the exploding ‘occult rock’ scene. However there’s far more to songs like Discere Credas and Miseras than a few recycled Sabbath riffs and a retro production –this San Francisco act are a unique proposition, and although they nod to rock’s past, they’re not chained to it.
A late contender for debut of the year? You bet.”
‐ Rush On Rock
‐ Splice Today
“Welcome to the birth of Philosophi c Metal...Who needs therefore a worthy alternative to the often infantile puppet theater in Black Metal and also happens to be standing on musical peak of experiences, is sure to be more than satisfied with the duo of Frisco.”
‐ Laut.de (trans.)
“Between the duo’s work in dulcimer‐and‐eco‐terrorism, metal surrealists Botanist and the Latin texts running through the lyric sheet, Lotus Thief’s debut could easily have
fallen foul of over‐ambition. What emerges on the six compositions that make up Rervm however is a diverse, sprawling sound that works just fine without the conceptual props:
treating black metal as more of a ‘you are here’ marker than a generic straightjacket, they alight on the shoegaze, ambient and post‐rock influences acts like Alcest have
brought to the sound, but expand even further out into distinctly un‐metal territory. The sheer amount of sound Lotus Thief try and fit into each song can leave them feeling over‐stuffed, but Rervm still succeeds as a bold, thrilling debut.”
‐ Narc Magazine
"dreamy Post‐Doom/Rock with Lotus Thief (one of the best tracks here), slow ritual Doom/Death with Cult Of Linnaeus, gothically inclined Doom with Bestiary and Doom‐infused Folk with Arborist... The idea is good, the result is great. I've discovered 5 new interesting bands, some of them I'll gladly recommand and will support (mostly Lotus Thief : I didn't even knew the existence of the band before)."
‐ Temple of Perdition
“"Rervm is an incredibly well written album, heartfelt and just truly remarkable… if I had heard this album a few more times and had more time to give to it, Rervm could very well be up the top end of the list, it’s an eclectic mix of sparse ambient moments interspersed with some epic black metal and doom, it’s a really interesting album and I think I’ll be listening to it a lot more in the coming months."
‐ The Metalithic
‐ Anti‐Gravity Bunny”
“Everything about ‘Rervm’ is considered, articulate and magnificently realised. As
long as the concept doesn’t prove to be too ‘highbrow’ for them to connect with a
wider audience, Lotus Thief should, by rights, be massive.”
‐ Whisperin and Hollerin
“"The most unusual aspect of " Rervm " is not the quite successful instrumental
foundation, but the vocal component: singer Bezaelith uses its foundation to
build up layers, some of which take over the function of an organ ‐ this creates a
b...it of the impression of a choir, which lies just above the modulating more
diverse metallic skeleton. Cool approach, especially since the timbre of the lady is very pleasant and fairly well integrated into the music."
‐ Metal.de, Germany (trans.)
“An evocative surprise.”
‐ Legacy Magazine, Germany (trans.)
“Those of you who like to dabble in more left field musical arts might be familiar with Botanist. Next to that artistic outlet, the San Francisco bases dynamic duo of Bezaelith and Otrebor, have instigated a new entity called Lotus Thief. Their goal is to bring back to life ancient texts. In the case of their debut album, it concerns De Rerum Natura (on the Nature of things) by the Roman poet/philosopher Titus Lucretius Caro in which he seeks to debunk the fear of divinity and death through rational reasoning. Like
the book itself, the record is divided into six chapters and explores its content via lengthy incursions into space rock, shoegaze and The Gathering like metal. The ethereal, otherworldly vocals are dreamy but still warm and intimate. A genuinely unique record. Higly recommended.”
‐ Darkview, Belgium
‐ Sonic Seducer, Germany (trans.)
“It is not possible to trace a song by song route : You must listen to "Rervm" in full, from the spring to the outlet like a musical river. That's the only way to enjoy the job of those two american musicians, that in my opinion have hit the target with their first album. I would definitely recommend "Rervm" to all the lovers of unusual music, to everyone appreciate complicated and not‐standard albums : you will see that you will find
yourself at ease…”
‐ Heavy Metal Webzine, Italy (trans.)
“There are a lot of instruments here too‐ keys, guitars, bass, acoustic drums, electronic effects... it is not a kitchen sink approach, though. It all has its place and increases the breadth and depth of the album‐ exactly what a record like this should aspire to. By turns the music is fierce, mellow, droning and even hummable. Lotus Thief has made an unusual album, no doubt about it. While it will not be to everyone's tastes, I urge
you to give it a try. It melds elements of black metal, post metal, psych, space rock and even folk to weave an intricate pattern. It's panoramic in scope and feel and well worth your time. Cool cover art too!”
‐ The Sludgelord
“It is not only the profound concept, but also the music of the band itself, which may not easily reveal itself to the listener. Lotus Thief namely plays a distinctive sound that draws from many sources. Here you find elements of dark psychedelic rock as well as post rock soundscapes. The hardness of the metal meets harmonious beautiful sound. This sounds on the one hand is pretty shoegaze moderately introverted, only to
then change the atmosphere with hideous destructive‐sounding raids of Black Metal. Generally, the atmosphere is crossed by a clear occult flair.”
‐ Music and Such, Germany (trans.)
“ I guess, unless we want to get into some serious reading we'll just have to take their
word for that, eh? Besides it's all about the music and Lotus Thief refer to themselves
as 'text metal', and they might as well do because you'd be hard pressed to find an
existing musical label that describes them adequately. Part doom metal, part
ambient, part prog, part pop. What they conjure up on ‘Rervm’ is curious to say the
‐ Uber Rock
“...'Revrm' is not of the easiest dishes. But if you give it a chance, you will discover
the dark beauty behind the music, and the songs carry the listener over pretty bleak musical landscapes. The dirty guitars, intense drumming and fast black metal outbursts, blend nicely with the synthesizer, melodic riffs, effects and clean female vocals,
thereby offering those who have open musical horizons, 48 minutes of beautiful music."
‐ Rock Overdose, Greece (trans.)
“Whatever the process behind the construction of Rervm, wherever they got their ideas from, whoever let them into that Roman crypt, the thing that you hear on this record is so flawlessly determined and magnificently deliberate that it’s hard to believe how new and experimental it is...This isn’t music that dilutes metal with influence from another genre or looks beyond metal’s boundaries for some means of escape from tradition. It is music that transforms and evolves what metal is, by going deeper. This is metal
because it subverts. This is metal because it defies. This is metal because it descends. You don’t so much listen to Rervm as fall through it. A lot of metal is scary because it sounds like it’s trying to kill you. Lotus Thief isn’t scary for any reason so trivial. They’re scary because it sounds like they’re going to change you.”
‐ Metal Reality
"Just like its progenitors, "Rervm" is a strange unclassifiable opus to which we could affix labels - doom, ambient, progressive - without any really convincing either ..."
"Once opened, the spiritual art of the Lotus Eaters from San Francisco flows freely in the world, penetrating the most remote corners of our mind where it settles down like a spider...Something Arcane, hard tangible, almost ethereal beauty. Bezaelith sings like a Greek nymph, raptured, detached and fully animated"
- Metal Hammer (de)
"It’s a big undertaking, but on Gramarye, Lotus Thief’s second album, the band pulls it off in a big way. Gramarye is five songs of vibrant soundscapes, accented by floating vocals. Drawing inspiration from texts that span history, Gramarye sees Lotus Thief bring to life works like the Egyptian The Book of the Dead and Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Lies, as well as Homer’s Odyssey and others.
After you listen to the album, keep reading for comments from Bezaelith about the album and its meaning.
Gramarye is based on a collective history of belief. The record deals with texts focused on sorcery and the afterlife, spanning two thousand years. The texts themselves vary in culture and civilization but cohere in representing forces of human belief and in conjuration of otherworldly ideas. Whereas Rervm was an ode to human science and empiricism, Gramarye is an opus for human belief."
- Decibel Magazine
"The music is diverse, ranging from peaceful ambiance to black metal, with some space rock thrown in for good measure. The five tracks are lengthy, developing slowly and revealing something new on every listen. Bezaelith’s vocals are mostly ethereal and melodic, but she also incorporates some harsh vocals on tracks like “The Book Of Lies.” It’s a powerful and diverse album that’s sometimes relaxing, other times frantic and almost always compelling."
- Heavy Metal Headquarters
"The American outfit Lotus Thief is back with their second album. Following ‘Rervm’ this ‘Gramarye’ has to live up to the promise the debut showed. Playing an eclectic mix of black metal, heavy and traditional doom metal with some progressive elements, but also containing some gothic and ambient parts, Lotus Thief has set themselves an almost impossible goal in trying to connect all these musical ends. On ‘Gramarye’ we see Lotus Thief sounding more vibrant and lush than ever and the dynamic interconnections of the various styles and the overarching melodious guitars are convincing. Their groovy side is made more effective but less abundant and serves the occult style well. The female vocals have increased in quality and creativity, often reminding me of Ava Inferi while the occasional screams serve as excellent contrasts to the quite catchy but demanding complex songs. ‘Gramarye’ is an improvement over ‘Rervm’ in anyway you can imagine, so for the musical adventurers out there: you need to check this out. Period."
- Roel de Haan, Lords of Metal
"The foundation here is a rock or metal sound. Which direction is precisely deflects, is sometimes quite unclear. Times the guitars take icy riffs on a very cold sound are reminiscent of post metal, marking the sound with distant rock riffs but in very warm tones.
The press release describes this concept as a mixture of post black metal, space rock and ambient. Black Metal is still a bit far-fetched. While it comes now and then with blast beats and limited guttural vocals, there are very few moments only in the background.
Space rock on the other hand is not at all exaggerated. The diffuse electronic traces in the background are almost continuously present on "Gramarye" and become one of the highlighting features of the album. From Bezaelith's tone, her work is always floating and twisted."
- Dark Festivals.de
"Lotus Thief surprised me quite a bit. Their new album Gramarye even more.
As a years-long metal elitist I have not listened to the genre called post-rock so much. So I gave a listen to some of the bands and after a minutes-long battle I admitted myself that I like it. A bit.
But I needed something heavier, and lo and behold, there came Lotus Thief. Occult lyrics, emotional heaviness like I’ve never witnessed before, non-cringy female vocals – it’s almost as listening to SubRosa echoing through astral realms.
Magical quality of Gramarye is self evident. You just need to look at the front cover, see the symbolism and power embedded in it. Listen to it an let it guide you to the new realms you couldn’t even imagine before. While a lot of bands started using occult material to promote its self image I have a feeling that this is sincere.
Every album they make is about self exploration. In Rervm, their last album, a lot of themes were concerned with nature of learning, but Gramarye gives the experience and focus on the higher worlds. Themes span several thousand years, from Egyptian Book of the Dead, through Homer’s Odyssey to contemporary works such as Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Lies."
- Metal Jacket Magazine
"Trying to classify Lotus Thief's music is kind of like taking a Rorschach test where everyone sees something different. While the group's own bio describes them as a (relatively) uncomplicated merger of "post-black metal, space rock and ambient music," that doesn't really even begin to describe the depth of sound the Bay Area band brings to the table. At any given time, their sound resembles everything from the aforementioned black metal influence to grunge, to 90s alternative rock, and even some of Stevie Nicks's witchier, more possessed moments. It's quite a ride, to say the least."
- Metal Injection
"The highly very talented composer / vocalist / bassist Bezaelith aka Beth Gladding gives birth with her band Lotus Thief two years after the furious debut " Rervm " a refreshing blast in the post metal genre. 'Gramarye' means 'Grimoire' and makes its name: epic soundscapes and more magic than philosophy ensure the highest sensuality free from the Latin principle Sapere Aude.
Crowley, Baby, Crowley! "The Book Of Lies" is as black as pitch beating heart at the center of plate and concept. The 'Great Beast' created hereby 1912 as crude as artistic self-contained masterpiece. The cocktail consisting of Thelema, Kabbalah, poetry and all sorts of unheard made Crowley not only the mastermind of the Ordo Templi Orientis. It also inspired Fields Of The Nephilim Carl McCoy to his masterpiece " Elizium ".
Lotus Thief approaches the mammoth work, however, differently. Bezaelith built with her voice an altar of darkness. Handled with pagan sentiment, from which it pressed every single drop of Christianity until it is in ruins. What remains of the doomender riffs is a temple - similar to Crowley - as new thinking, can draw profound realization or benighted damnation to himself. The artistic staging succeeds masterfully.
Thematically every song is on "Gramarye" such a crusher. The range of Lotus thieves ranges from ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead on Homer's "Odyssey" to the old German "Merseburger spells". They prove to each individual work the highest possible respect, without losing their musical independence.
Metal, Ambient, a slight touch of gothic and some spacy passages meander filigree another. Where one ends and the other begins, it is hardly true. After Weigen minutes one is under LTs hypnotic spell. It lacks only "De vermis Mysteriis" and the "Necronomicon" to total Okkultistenglück.
Switching to Prophecy Productions and with boosting the duo to a quartet pays audible for this unusual shady Californians. The production sounds fuller and more transparent than at the beginning of their original career. Each of the five pieces fit for the listening tip.
My previous favorite moments are nevertheless the complex "Circe" with his virtuoso details and evocative urgent "Idisi". In the latter, the chic Letterbox guitar fanned out on night tablecloth in the further course like spilled red wine. In the end everything is devoured by its six strings. Can you say "Hallelucifer"?
"Lotus Thief’s high-art, high-concept, and high-blend musical style basically forces one to use his or her noggin’. Conceptually, the San Francisco-based outfit pull from “age-old texts, intentionally exploring the world of the past while weaving threads to the present,” including the Egyptians, medieval times, and Aleister Crowley. It’s fitting for music that is quite exploratory, merging the worlds of black metal (of course), avant-garde, and ambient music. We’d make the initial comparison to Arcturus, but Gramayre dispels that, along with any other comparable."
- Dead Rhetoric
"It's labeled as post-black metal, but that side of the band really only shows itself in brief bursts. Overall, it's very ethereal, post/psychedelic metal with female vocals. It's very dreamy and lush, and thought it can be a bit long-winded at times, is still very good."
- Sputnik Music
"Lotus Thief’s stated goal for their new album Gramarye, their sophomore effort, was to create “something entirely different and beautiful in its own new way.” In that they have been remarkably successful.
Lotus Thief’s multifaceted music is so “entirely different and beautiful” that it doesn’t have an obvious descriptive starting point. There’s an atmospheric element, not uncommon amongst many of their label-mates on Prophecy Productions. There are tastes of post-rock, and black metal and prog and…
Fuck it, that it’s featured here should tell you all you need to know, so just listen and your ears will do the rest. I haven’t been able to stop listening to my promo of Gramarye since it landed in my inbox last week, so stream “Idisi” below and see what you think. It’ll probably be one of the most interesting things you’ve heard in a while."
"Audacious in its lyrical inspirations, drawing primarily from ancient and mysterious texts, the music is similarly expansive and grandiose. Dense, psychedelic layers of synths and guitars provide the backdrop for the beautiful and ethereal female vocals; puncturing the dreamlike state, passages of black riffs and ambient minimalism draws the listener down different alleys, promising to unlock secrets from the aged texts. Gramarye is a joyous listen; uplifting yet heavy, dark yet full of light, varied yet flows as a single piece, understated yet overpowering. Here Lotus Thief have crafted a record that spreads its wings across the spectrum (black metal? Yes, but in no way "trve"; psychedelic? It certainly gets out there; prog? The echoes of the 70s ring clear), and the view is spectacular.“
- The Digital Fix
"There any number of things that inspire heavy metal records from societal conditions to personal struggles to anger over religious matters. There also have been many cases where other works of art have led to some of the finest metal on record, and it’s easy to see why something one sees or reads could slip into the pores and influence the creative process.
For two records now, Bay Area metal band Lotus Thief has traveled back in time via various texts, and that has led to two unique, stunning opuses, the latest being “Gramarye.” The title itself deals with occult learning primarily through magic, and that title fits perfectly for these five tracks that visit such legendary works as Homer’s Odyssey, the Merseberg Incantations (magic spells written in Old High German), and the ancient Egyptian funerary passage The Book of the Dead, and even Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Lies. The works that inspired these songs stretch back nearly 2,000 years and led to these stimulating, dramatic tracks that all stretch nearly 10 minutes and keep your lungs pumping. It’s a bit of a departure from their Titus Lucretius Carus-molded debut “Rervm” in that it’s more ambitious and pushes their magic all the way to the stars...
...This spacious, magical record is one that’ll leave you seeing stars and perhaps perusing those ancient texts that inspired Lotus Thief and these great five songs. “Gramarye” is a confident step forward for the band, the further evolution of their sound, one that’s fluent and ever expanding. This record is an adventurous joy to take on, and even after multiple listens, there remain corners to explore and layers of meaning to peel back and devour."
- Meat Mead Metal
"And through it all, there's Bezaelith's siren voice. She has very little competition when it comes to this, and if the music itself is at times cerebral, her singing is the beating heart that keeps the whole thing grounded and compelling. Favorite moments? It's hard to say where to start, but go to around the 4:30 mark in "Salem" and listen to this pure, elevating beauty. Listen to it several dozen times in a row, maybe. (I'm not saying I did that. I'm also not not saying I did that). As good as the entirety of the album is, the emotional crescendo that builds through "Salem" and album closer "Idisi" should provide at least 200% of your recommended daily allowance of feels. I said it in the review of Rervm, and I'll say it again here: If these vocals don't melt your heart, I don't know what to do with you.
We've had a good year of book-ish metal. Gorguts gave us a 33-minute tour of The House of Wisdom, and now Lotus Thief takes us from the library and back into the books themselves. But as unique as the subject matter may be, Lotus Thief continues to build an incredible sound rich enough to match."
- Metal Bandcamp
“Lotus Thief are back after creating a buzz with their 2014 full length. The songs are still long and wandering pieces of music; there is light and shade, heaviness and an epic quality here. The airy sound and swirling keyboard sounds are still present and the band is very much within the psychedelic sphere of doom...
...'Gramarye' is a step up from the band's last album and is a fine and entertaining listen; on headphones or on in the background, this is a record to enjoy.”
- The Sludgelord
"'...The Book of Lies' brings to life the work of controversial occultist and author Aleister Crowley. Published in 1912 it is seen as one of his most suggestive works. Given it had 93 chapters then you would find it difficult to condense it into 9 minutes of music, that said it was only one page per chapter, but still it’s a tough ask. Lotus Thief know what they are doing though and have yet to outreach themselves. It provides more dynamic moments than the first two tracks but still contains itself within the structure of lengthy dramatic but emotive passages of ethereal riffing.
The final two tracks are musically in the same sphere as the first three but there is a change in tempo and mood as “Salem” is a more mournful and sombre piece occasionally broken up with brief isolated bursts of energy. “”Idisi” provides a fitting finale to a brilliantly challenging and complex album.
Gramarye is out on September 16th via anywhere that sells good music.
Donnie’s Rating: 9/10"
- Maximum Volume Music
"Doing what I do (i.e. giving y'all something to be mad at each week), I get a ton of records thrown at me from bands I've never heard of. Sadly, there are a lot of bands that just sound like shittier versions of other bands. So when Lotus Thief landed in my ears, I was ecstatic. They have a really beautiful ambient metal sound that features some Alcest-y bits, some SubRosa-y bits, and general experimenting. I love this shit. More please.
While Lotus Thief boasts a lot of musical influences—and wields them all well—the defining thread is undeniably Bezaelith's resonant, dreamlike vocals, and it's her voice that summons opener "The Book of the Dead" into being with one of her trademark prismatic harmonies. From there, Lotus Thief returns to doing what they do best, laying brilliant, ritualistic melodies over a seamless amalgam of rock rhythms and occasional blasts. It sounds like an awkward marriage at best, and admittedly, in another band's hands it well might be an outright disaster, but the band's vision is so clear,and Bezaelith's voice is such a commanding and unifying force, that you can't help but surrender."
- Metal Injection