The world is a scary fucking place at the moment, usually I start my reviews with a wise crack but it doesn’t seem appropriate considering what is happening in the home-town of the band that I am reviewing today. That home-town is Minneapolis, Minnesota which is currently in the midst of a major riot in reaction to the horrendous murder of George Floyd by the state police department. As a white English guy I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in America as a person of colour, however I can use my media to stand with them and unite against hatred… its 2020 and this shit is still happening.
Amidst the darkness enshrouding the world there is a flickering illumination piercing through the tumultuous storm. That illumination is Feral Light and their new record Light Vapor released May 22nd via the fantastic label Hypnotic Dirge Records. Light Vapor is the bands third full length and only a year has passed since their well received Fear Rides A Shadow.
Feral Light is a two piece that play an interesting mixture of black metal, black ‘n’ roll and death metal. Before I’ve listened to a note, I’m taken back by the album artwork produced by Unexpected Specter. You can just about make out this huge temple penned in the interesting colour choices of black on a sea of the darkest blood red. It’s one of the more unusual sleeves of the year and gives you a sneak peek into the horrors that lay within.
The two piece includes Andy Schoengrund of sludgy black metal monsters Wolvhammer, accompanied by Andrew Reesen on drums. Feral Light take huge chunks from black metal, post metal and death metal to create their sound. The opening salvo Assuage is thunderous blackened death metal from the abyss that is bestowed upon us with gargantuan tremolo picked riffage that seamlessly moves between melodic tones and death metal madness. The song has great hooks and progresses really well. Each passage has a unique quality that’s perfectly accompanied with ferocious drum work and shrill haunting vocals. All this creates a huge atmosphere and is the absolute perfect start to a record. I am hooked!
This is by no means feral; this is a calculated dissection of your soul…
After the abrupt halt to the opening track, ominous tones fill the air with synths that sound like the light is being dragged from your soul. This is the introduction to Blood In Sand. The guitars kick in with a slow brooding build up and there’s a nice use of the china. It’s brooding, it’s captivating and perfectly captures the essence of a blackened death metal record. The track builds up into a mid tempo riff alongside double kicks and snarled screams. This theme continues for a while before the bass picks up and before you know it, you’re thrown into a full blown black metal maelstrom.
The vocals are rawer than ever and sound like their being spewed from some giant serpent like creature…really cool stuff. My favourite part of the track is where Blood In Sand breaks into this post metal section. I thought I was listening to Isis’s Panopticon, not a black metal record, but felt completely natural, which is what makes Light Vapor a great record. So far I’m getting massive vibes of Dissection, Wormwitch, Inter Arma, Tombs and even a little Goatwhore.
The album continues with all out black metal tracks like Hex Of Inverses, which blasts away any light left on the planet. It’s a really well written and explosive track. In Summation is more black metal madness but finishes on more of those haunting bass laden synths that over power everything. It leads really well into the excellent Last Gasp Invocation which kicks off with a slow and drawn out melodic introduction. It’s a great break from the relentless ferocity of the last few tracks and helps build some tension and atmosphere. The rest shows Feral Light at their best with this killer black’n’roll sound intertwined with blasted sections to keep you nailed to your chair. It’s my favourite part and track on the album.
The record is finished with Walking Tomb featuring more of the melodic mayhem I’ve loved throughout and is accompanied with more tremolo picked riffage and blasts that will be felt across the world. I think the group’s name ‘Feral Light’ does not match the sound on display. This is by no means feral; this is a calculated dissection of your soul. Each slice, each break is purposeful and integral to the invocation on offer. To be perfectly honest I didn’t want Light Vapor to finish. It’s an end of year lister for sure and a great new addition to my collection. Basically, if you hadn’t got it from the above…listen to this record… what are you waiting for, go now!
Scribed by: Matt Alexander