Friday, January 15, 2010
DROWNING THE LIGHT "AN ALIGNMENT OF DEAD STARS" (Avant Garde)
Some bands are the ultimate collector's dream and nightmare: tons upon tons of releases, on shitloads of different labels from different countries, all in limited small runs, all insanely high quality. DROWNING THE LIGHT, an Australian black metal project, are one such band, joining the ranks of acts such as Boris, Nadja and Skullflower in terms of music output to awesomeness ratios. In black metal this frequency of releases is more frowned upon and Drowning the Light has been subject to a number of unwarranted backlashes for their dearth of unobtainable releases. At this point even i can't keep up with the wealth of vinyl releases these guys are putting out, chronologically or financially, and while saddening, i've decided to more or less get what i can when i can. Drowning the Light has never disappointed me with their music, so when i saw a US distributor had this newest album in stock, i jumped on it. The bad news is that because i overdrafted my check card paying for this (my own fault) this album actually ended up costing me about fifty dollars. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Limited to a scant 300 copies worldwide (although there's no numbering on this CD, which bugs me a bit) this is easily one of Drowning the Light's strongest statements artistically. There's a good 70 minutes of music here, making this one of their longest albums as well. Let me throw a deluge of monikers towards you to describe this stuff: this is vampyric aristocratic romantic depressive raw black metal of the most elite style. It's obvious that the gentlemen behind Drowning the Light absolutely live and breathe black metal. It's their lifesblood, a complete and ruling passion, combined with a deep historical knowledge of the genre and the ability to replicate and advance a sound that hasn't been accurately reproduced since Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger." Yes, the spectre of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto looms weightily over Drowning the Light, and no other band has tapped into the frigid primitivism of black metal in years. This is church burning music, forest dwelling etudes that hearken a welcoming of an early age, a statement of utter rejection and disdain for modern culture and its values, an homage to the Northern climes and all their icy solitude (and no, i have not forgotten that this band is from Australia). This is simply masterful songwriting, drenched in uncomplicated melodies and headbanging garage production. When people talk about "cult" black metal, this is one of the sounds they're referring to. With no interest in interacting with the scene at large, Drowning the Light are making black metal for the sake of the art alone, a desire to keep the fires in the heart blazing, to hold the torch aloft and see the that the banner flies high and the flame never goes extinguished. "An Alignment of Dead Stars" achieves the hypnotism of "Filosofem" while reaching the emotional gravitation of Shining's most frightening confessions and the sheer beauty of Mogwai's naked guitar deconstructionism, while on the other hand they're able to write music of such anthemic simplicity that the Ramones would give applause. Totally flooring, one of the best albums from a band whose discography is vomiting gold.