Lost Society — If The Sky Came Down (Nuclear Blast)

On 2014’s titanic Terror Hungry, it was impossible to ignore Lost Society’s insatiable appetite for thunderous, old school thrash metal.

Furiously ambitious and a whole lot of fun, a raucous record sounded like Tankard raising a glass to Testament before all hell broke loose.

And we were beating down the door to join that beer-soaked, head banging party.

Four crazy kids from the Finnish town of Jyväskylä had emerged as serious contenders and future scene leaders.

It was like listening to our favourite Kerrang! Kurrated 1985 mixtape all over again.

Then came the Rushonrock-approved Braindead — the astonishingly mature album that added a ballsy Big Four attitude to the band’s redeeming, raw potential.

Lost Society had found their feet.

Honed their craft.

And discovered their role as the thinking man’s thrashers.

But six years down the line have the wheels finally come off?

Or have Sammy Elbanna and co. simply added a set of shiny new alloys to their increasingly slick vehicle for mass market modern metal?

If The Sky Came Down is a blatant and unashamedly bold play for the big leagues.

Sure, it’s the natural successor to 2020’s metalcore-minded No Absolution.

And there’s no denying Lost Society’s glossy makeover will force the world’s premier festival bookers to sit up and take notice.

The polished production and pin-sharp PR shots are impossibly commercial.

In fact, every last hint of Terror Hungry’s rough and ready charm has been ruthlessly expunged.

For better or for worse.

Have Lost Society lost their way?

Or is If The Sky Came Down a necessary new dawn for a band unwilling to feed its fast-withering thrash metal roots?

There’s no law against metal evolution.

Bands must reboot to survive.

And there are times when taking the next step requires a creative leap of faith.

Take Metallica’s Black album.

Then there’s A7X’s City Of Evil.

Or Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns

Lost Society are following a well-trodden path with If The Sky Came Down but what if that path’s leading to a dangerously directionless dead end?

The melancholic metal-by-numbers underpinning sleep-inducing set closer Suffocating is a stifling case in point.

Whatever happened to saving the best until last?

There’s no semblance of the cool-as-fuck kick-ass band that burst onto the scene with 2014’s dizzying debut Fast Loud Death.

And Suffocating does what it says on the tin — sucking the life out of a quartet that can do so much better.

But If The Sky Came Down’s ill-advised nu-metal/metalcore hybrid hits a crushing low on the hellish Hurt Me.

If the brief was to dull the senses and chase mediocrity then it’s a case of job done.

Otherwise somebody, somewhere has dropped the ball so hard and so far that there are worrying echoes of game over for these one-time saviours of the thrash metal scene.

If it’s possible to escape the irony writ large across What Have I Done then there are fleeting moments of much-needed redemption.

Lead single 112’s Trivium-powered groove is surely the way to go.

And Underneath’s punchy riffage reveals Lost Society haven’t entirely lost the plot.

Then there’s (We Are The) Braindead’s reassuring nod to that mid-career metal highlight.

But this patchy record is a poor reflection of Lost Society’s gregarious past glories.

If The Sky Came Down casts a gloomy shadow over the band’s previously hefty canon.

And only time will tell whether a calculated move for commercial gain justifies a clear dereliction of creative duties.