If you keep up with my review’s (why wouldn’t you, I’m great) then you’ll know I’ve got a soft spot for the old school, from throwback sounds to labels producing music the old way. I did an interview with Steffen over at Germany’s Lycanthropic Chant’s on all things analogue and today I get to review some music from another label killing it old school styleeee, hailing from Oakland, California’s Transylvanian Recordings who produce the ‘Darkest Waves in The Bay’. Masterminded by James Rauh, who is refreshingly open about his passion for the scene but also the pitfalls of the industry, the label has managed to produce some fantastic releases starting all the way back in 2013.
Seeing a new release from this label up for a review, I immediately jumped on it as I knew I was in for quality. I actually personally purchased three killer tapes in an array of different styles of the extreme from Carrion Bloom’s black and roll party Heretic Howl, Brazilian death machine Fossilization with He Who Was Long Forgotten and, one I highly recommend, death metal cross fuzzy doom monolith Dead Rituals from Cali’s Swamp Witch.
So, the delectable little ditty that I get to bring you from Transylvanian Recordings is Liminal Light from Brooklyn, NY doom tinged black ‘n’ rollers Kosmodemonic which came out May 7th. Liminal Light is the groups sophomore release after the well received The Inebriating Darkness which was a more noise/sludge influenced take on the black ‘n’ roll sound. This is actually a more accessible release from the group, Kosmodemonic don their leather jackets and unleash an almost sleazy dirt bag punk flair to the sound, chock full of attitude, hooks and groove.
The vocals might be a tad marmite (love or hate) with their semi dramatic snarled delivery, they really stand out and I personally think they work. Vocalist David Bozzler sounds like a cross between Venom’s Cronos, Lee Dorian (The Garden of Unearthly Delights era Cathedral) and Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. Although Kosmodemonic hail from NY there is a distinctively British feel to David’s snarl, something that feels somewhat comforting to this tubby Brit and has me clamouring for my copy of Venom’s Black Metal to spin immediately after finishing off this review.
the first half of the album is a quicker and more aggressive affair… the second half is a thicker, slower and a more sombre performance…
From a musical perspective, what’s great with Liminal Light is that there is plenty of variation between the songs, each with a different feel that’s executed really well. It’s not as harsh as their debut, which may disappoint some, but there’s still enough punch to keep that black metal aesthetic to the performance. The melodic notes are well placed and sit just above the madness remind me a touch of Nachtmystium, just with less of the drama. The group bring in some touches of psychedelia, like in hypnotising track Hidden Light, and chunks of doom to the table with the massive riffs in Ipomoea that sound like they could’ve been pulled straight from Yob’s Atma, a real neck stretcher.
The swaggering riffs and varied chops from drummer David Wirchansky are real highlights and best shown on fast paced tracks like Moirai and slower yet meaty tracks like Broken Crown, which perfectly display an album of two halves. Moirai being track two and Broken Crown being track seven of nine, the first half of the album is a quicker and more aggressive affair full of character and clout, whereas the second half is a thicker, slower and a more sombre performance, almost cold and foreboding. It works really well, winding you down from the initial high of the chaotic beginning to the thought process of coping with the darker low of the end.
Liminal Light is an interesting listen, with clear influence from lots of genres and the record having an abundance of ideas floating about could easily distract from the overall performance. I actually think in this case it does the opposite, after numerous listens I’m still enjoying the variation in sound from track to track and the bustling attitude spewed out from the group. So, if you’re looking for something new to check out and fancy something a little different then, like me, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy Kosmodemonic’s Liminal Light.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander