“You thought you had it all under control, but then you met me” Lana Blac tells us in the opening salvo of her new single “Suck You In,” her words echoing in the cavernous atmosphere created by the mix. Blac swims through the dark abyss of bass and treble crashing into each other in the foreground as if she’s traveled these black waters before. Her confidence is like a dagger in the gut of the gloomy synth behind the strings, howling in pain and begging for us to hear its pleas. She seduces us with sinful specks of post-punk ambience that latch onto the bloated grooves and draw us closer to the metallic center of the song; as engrossing as the guitar play is in this single, none of the riffs hold a candle to the mesmerizing attitude that Blac possesses in spades and releases in just under four staggering minutes of play. Her debut album Nocturnal is jam-packed with plenty of heavy metal mastery to behold, but personally I think that “Suck You In” is the most refined and modishly appointed track on the record – it shows us what Blac can do when there’s no stylistic barriers to hold her back.
The understated nuances within the production of this song are very complimentary to the lyrics; the mix makes use of the industrial rhythm in the bass and drums and uses their force to grate us into dust. Although most metal songs build on a main guitar solo to bind everything together, “Suck You In” doesn’t try and wow us with a lot of predictable pomp. Where we would normally expect to find a lead, there’s only a fever-inducing breakdown that shatters the steady pace of the track and shifts the entire mood towards anxiety and fear. We walk alongside Blac for roughly the first two and a half minutes of the song, and then out of nowhere she cuts loose and gets us racing after the percussion as if it were our only hope of surviving. Rather than tiring us out with the same old same old, Blac takes the heavy metal template and puts an emphasis on the style’s most uncompromising and juddering components, and we end up feeling energized rather than bored.
Lana Blac’s new single is steeped in Gothic charm and industrial prowess, but it’s as tangible and authentically designed a metal song as any I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in the last couple of years. Unlike most subgenres of rock (and despite what some critics may have you believe), heavy metal is about mood and tonality much more than it is about elite play, and Blac is demonstrating a serious knack for cultivating a temperament out of relative thin air here. “Suck You In” has shades of early Type O Negative and even a dash of aggression in the vein of Dave Mustaine, but there’s nothing about it that would indicate Blac is trying to transmit anything but her own emotions and thoughts through this music. She’s an honest original in a decade plagued with sound-alikes, and “Suck You In” absolutely does her talents justice.