One advantage of being on Instagram is that it can help in terms of exposing one to new bands, which is how I happened upon Brooklyn, New York psychedelic doom quartet Lightmaker. Proof that social media can be useful and not just be an outlet for narcissists to show off their ‘assets’.
The band consist of Jade Morgan – vocals, Jack Woodward – guitar, Chris Satterlee – bass and Brian Murphey on drums. The band are on DHU Records, home to the likes of Black Capricorn, Constance Tomb (who I reviewed for The Shaman) and Satánico Pandemonium. The artwork by The Real Theory is what one would expect from a band with psychedelic influences, a person walking towards another dimension. The album is mastered by James Plotkin who has worked on a lot of my favourite releases from the likes of Esben and the Witch, Zombi and GNOD.
The album starts with opener Hanging Crown with The Obsessed fashioned muscular riffs, this is no coincidence as the band consider them one of their biggest influences and in fact who they supported in 2019. What distinguishes Lightmaker from the sea of imitators however are the beautifully expressive vocals by Jade that have a PJ Harvey and Rachel Davies (Esben & the Witch) flavour. The lyrics are also more thoughtful ‘Rulers of pain, power wanes, you’re torn down’, thankfully no mention of witches, wizards or weed.
The bleakly titled Destined For Death features quiet and moody passages which are nicely juxtaposed with the doomier moments. This demonstrates a strong understanding of dynamics and taps into the true spirit of Sabbath. The track even swings in spots and features a brief snippet of jazz guitar towards the end, making for a further pleasant diversion.
the six tracks afforded me a spiritual experience, while the diversity of the music, and the quality of the vocals, made for an excellent album…
After the two relatively ‘progressive’ longer opening tracks, the band wisely decide to change things up with a no nonsense four minute belter by the name of Sweet Fire. The track is so anthemic you’ll find yourself singing along with unmitigated joy. Under Your Skin is the longest track on the album at over ten minutes, and takes you on a journey of rhythmic complexity and heartfelt emotion, reminding me a lot of Windhand. The track feels cathartic and having read an Instagram post from drummer Brian, it looks like the band have been through their fair share of ordeals and dramatic life changes leading up to this point.
Rise To Light is fun, fun, fun, with more of a stoner groove than we’ve heard so far. I was reminded of classic Kyuss and Fu Manchu with less fuzz and an uplifting chorus brimming with seeming optimism. Mournin’ Blues is pure sludge with a distinct Melvins influence, while Jade’s vocals are even more impassioned. As implied by the title, the track has a funereal quality akin to early Candlemass and thus makes for a suitable conclusion to the album.
I’m very selective when it comes to bands I review in the doom/stoner category. Part of this can be attributed to, what I feel is, an oversaturation of the genre and due to the increasing popularity, the subsequent proliferation of less than original bands. It was to my delight therefore to encounter a band that were, at the very least, offering something fresh and inspiring. I have no idea about Lightmaker‘s religious backgrounds, but the six tracks afforded me a spiritual experience, while the diversity of the music, and the quality of the vocals, made for an excellent album, which I have now ordered, I recommend you do the same.
Scribed by: Reza Mills