So let’s just throw our cards on the table right now just so you know where we stand and if you want to read further. This is without a doubt in the running for my album of the year and truth be told will probably win it pretty handily. This is a remarkable achievement for two reasons. First, I am by and large not a huge fan of instrumental metal (this album is so much more than metal but we’ll get into that in a bit). Someone screaming, growling, cursing, and all around shredding their vocal chords directly at me is pretty much a necessity to really lock down that emotional element of a song or album. This album is able to create that same feeling with no vocals at all. Secondly, and this for me is when you know an album is amazing. Upon first listen, I enjoyed it. it was a solid listen. Good stuff all around. It wasn’t until about the 3rd or 4th listen that it absolutely grabbed my head and slammed it into my book shelf speakers forcing me to hang off of every note and chord. That is when you know it’s really, really good. like album of the year good. like career defining good.
So let’s dive right in to discover what all my fuss is about.
The album starts off with some standard stoner type doom riffs to test the waters and get things warmed up a little but then slowly burns off leaving a crackle of feedback and fuzz behind it. The track then bubbles quietly beneath the surface while slowly building for seconds which turn into minutes until it suddenly stomps the dust off some anxious riffs, only to recede back below the surface for a quick break. It then quickly returns with a renewed sense of urgency and it’s phasers set back on build. Gears are shifting but seemingly in opposite directions and previously unforeseen guitars are tremolo-ed in from cobwebbed corners until the hammer drops and absolutely explodes into a crushing, devastating and pummeling repeating riff which if you are human at all should make you jump out of your damned seat and thrash around like a damned maniac. As an album opener it doesn’t get much better than this.
The second track quiets down a little giving you room to breathe. Opening up into a shimmering hazy soundscape wandering aimlessly but never getting lost. We settle in for a nice and comfy ride. It peters out softly at just about the half way point, but immediately bursts open into an over drive of shoe gazing intensity.
Even though the album title is “No Light Ever”, we get sun blinded in track 3. It’s a sort of version of a theme in “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed”. Lazily snaking it’s way through similar fields the previous track plowed. The guitars cry out and moan until the midpoint when everything gets bathed in a thick sheen of distortion and feedback.
The last track is a masterclass in build up. Just a constant line of tension strung out tighter and tighter while you wait for it to explode as it has done so many times already on this album. Except instead of that explosion, it drops down to half speed but also cranks up the power a few notches. Then the downshift, and the crank starts to turn, powering up to the one more expected chaos. It starts to keep pace, galloping into the final leg of the song, strangling out bursts of guitar yelps, until finally dying in a whirlwind of noise.
Again, “No Light Ever” is just a perfect mix of metal, shoe gaze, drone, doom, and noise elements all baked into nice little package and strapped with tnt. Give it a shot and let it really sink in and your patience will be well rewarded with possibly your album of the year too.
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- Video Premiere: Fire-Toolz – mailto:[email protected]?subject=Mind-Body Parallels/Clear Light
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