|4.1 (2 votes):|
When it takes you several times to start an album, you know it isn’t going to be great. That sage wisdom of course isn’t universal but most of the time you just can’t argue with it. Light That is Called Darkness is the sophomore album of the Russian black metal band Nordligblåst, and it is by no means a terrible album, albeit a little difficult to jump into. This album doesn’t have a calamitous mix or a lack of solid production or any other amalgamation of atrocious attributions but suffers from a case of mediocrity. It rides the (sluggish) line of being in between something with genuine merit and something that I have no drive to relisten to.
To start with the positive, genuine merit comes from some of the writing and sound. This album is attempting some sort of progression away from the typical black metal moniker. Even without the mention of the “RNBM” or “Russian Nordic Black Metal” graphic applied on the back of the digipak, the writing attempts to invoke a sense of folkish epic mixed with a formidable atmosphere. Even more admirable in addition to this, is that it’s done without any hokey keyboards or cheesy synthesizers. The riffs on the tracks Occultis Viribus Obnoxias and Winter Night were enough to reinvigorate my deteriorating interest in the album. The riffs on these tracks are inspired with vigor and bleak power offering a supreme burst of black metal with a twist of epic scale thrown in for good measure. As for the sound, the reverberating guitars couple these riffs with a great affluence of atmosphere.
Unfortunately, that’s where any outright praise effectively stops. The painful truth about this album is that out the near one-hour-long run time, was that I only enjoyed about 12 minutes of it. As I so lovingly exclaimed in the intro of this review, was that I had to start this album on several occurrences. The first track off the album My Darkness is the longest one clocking in at a hefty 8 minutes. That alone typically isn’t enough to scare me away from a track but, good lord, the mid-pace playing, melodic-yet-flat, stereotypical acoustic intro, and the reliance on the same sounding riffs is enough to make anyone cry from boredom. Thankfully, this first track is as bad as it gets but exudes the worst aspects of the album.
It’s honestly annoying how many caveats I’ve listed or thought of while examining this album; seriously I feel for everything that’s good about this album, there’s an equal amount of bad. Sure, there are some good riffs BUT all the other ones fall flatter than a pancake. Yeah, Imperius’ vocals are dripping with a melancholic personality and a freezing snide BUT he sounds like he’s a bit subdued for some reason, whether it be the mix or performance. Of course, the melody in the writing is a nice addition BUT not when the songs run on for too long, or when the riffs are repeated to the point of redundancy. The drumming abstains from the stereotypical blast beats and the guitars from tremolo riffing BUT the mid-pace tempo of everything drags the album along. This album is ok BUT it’s not great.
Another aspect is that there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said, an all too familiar theme of a mediocre album. Should I puppet the observations of other reviewers like this album puppets its own riffs? Or should I extrapolate and focus upon the scarce moments of actual intrigue that I discover and stretch it over the course of this review, like the album does to itself, making it redundant and therefore pointless. Rhetoric aside, that’s the main issue here folks, this album is mediocre to the bone. The enthusiasm is sedated and severely lacking in energy and the hour long run time is not in this album’s favor, making it a chore to get through.
In an attempt to leave on an optimistic note, this album admittedly had me entertained at points. I admire the effort and work put into the album and nothing is obtuse in its existence. The two songs I got off this 10-track album were great plus the performances weren’t half bad either. But if your patience runs dry rather quickly or you have a particular disdain for the mediocre, I’d say skip this one for now or at least check the two tracks I specifically mentioned before.
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- Review: Wrekmeister Harmonies “We Love to Look at the Carnage” [Thrill Jockey Records] - March 26, 2020
- Review: Nordligblåst “Light That Is Called Darkness” [Careless Records / Death Kvlt Productions] - February 22, 2020
- Review: Mad God “Grotesque and Inexorable” [Narcoleptica Productions / Red Handed Records] - January 10, 2020