Review: White Ward “False Light” [Debemur Morti Productions]

Review: White Ward “False Light” [Debemur Morti Productions]

- in Reviews

Let’s go for a full immersion in this melancholic and strange post-black metal opus. This is the kind of album that, with its long and experimental songs, inspires that kind of description, and feels like an immersion into one really long song.

I describe this as post-black metal, because it’s really its own mixture of genres with black metal as the basis for it all. There are high-pitched, melancholic screams and heavy guitars, but there is also a lot of melody, constantly alternating between fast, heavy parts and quieter, sadder ones, keyboards, jazzy horns and rain sounds. This album has a sound of its own.

This is established on the first track, “Leviathan”, which starts with rain before letting the guitars out, alternating between sad and heavy moments, and featuring a horn solo followed by guitars and screams, then melancholic singing over harsh screams, then horns and guitars again. The “softer” or “less metal” elements like the horns and the clean vocals don’t feel out of place, but rather, they add to the melancholy and gloom of the track, and give it a really unique feel.

The rest of the album consists of dark metal/post-black metal ballads or heavier tracks, sometimes both in one song. There are heavy tracks with gloomy keyboards like “Silence Circles”. The horns and bits of dialogue keep this one from being a typical melodic black metal song. Then, there are tracks like the soft and eerie keyboard instrumentals “Downfall” and its spoken word part about how disobedience and imperfection are what make us humans, and “Echoes in Eternity”, or “Salt Paradise”, mostly a ballad with nice horns and nice sinister, low-pitched and raspy speak-singing.

However, “Phoenix” has one of the best contrasts between the slow and melancholic intro and its angrier verses, where the horns assist the guitars once again, and there’s some call and response between high screams and lower growls followed by deep-voiced singing. “Cronus” starts like a goth rock/new wave track before turning into melodic black metal. The title track is one of the most ambitious on the album, being nearly 15 minutes of gloomy jazz, fast black metal, more experimental and strange metal, eerie singing, raspy growls, wild shrieks and sinister choirs.

This album was a trip, both in the sense that it has created such a special and creative sound that it feels like travelling through a strange world, and that it’s a strange, hard to understand or explain experience that you’re not the same after hearing it. Of course, I’d recommend it only to the more open-minded listeners, people who don’t mind something described as post-black metal, don’t mind long songs, or don’t mind a little bit of jazz in their metal and vice versa. If you are ready for something like that, this album has a lot to offer. There are some good vocals, guitars and horns, a nice sense of gloom and melancholy and a lot of creativity. It’s a really good experimental black metal-leaning album.

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