25 Mar 2022 - Knut
Atmospheric Sludge Metal/Post Metal | Inverse Records | Release date: 25 Mar 2022
From Tampere, Finland, comes a new bold band plowing themselves in between the giants of the Post Metal genre and does it with bravura, like a steam locomotive coming towards you breaking through whatever stands in its way. One might ask, does the world need another band like this? Oh yes - Light Beneath confirms this with their self-titled first release four years after the band’s inception.
When you start listening, it does not take long before you are immersed in the saturated melodic atmospheric sludge metal sonics of Light Beneath. Just a few notes into the first track, and you are somehow brought back to the 2000s when those who became the giants of the genre carved their places and stayed there. So, one might ask, if this release from Light Beneath is an equal. Well in some aspects it is, but in other aspects it is comes out more as a sequel.
Using clean guitar, the band opens the album with ”Beneath Water” before heavy distorted riffs from the guitars introduce a melodic theme that after a few listens becomes an earworm. The full-bodied screamo-growling vocal places itself in the middle of the guitars. The drums and bass pushing the pace forward. At first you might not notice it, but in between the heavy melodic riffs there is a lot going on with guitar shifting from riffs to playing the theme in the background in solo mode. The mid-section quiets down with playful guitars heading in different directions controlled by steady hard drumming and a grooving bass. The music rises up again with the vocals before it becomes heavier and slower, repeating the melodic theme and fades away slowly.
The second track, ”Sirens” is a fascinating piece of post metal when the bass emerges as the main instrument. The bass kicks off the track with the guitars in fluid mode beneath, steadily controlled by the drums. Not long into the track the bass changes its sounds with nods to Jeff Caxide´s bass work in Isis. Soon after the saturated sound of the guitar floods through you. The drums commanding a fast forward pace, but the guitars holding a bit back building a wall of heaviness. It is fascinating how a melodic theme from a guitar rises out of the marsh dwelling sound accompanied by energetic drumming and how the groove from the bass pushes the pace forward.
The end of the second track is very fast and the third track, “All These Faces”, keeps up the pace before it evens out in a boundless atmospheric guitar-based soundscape. The heavy riffs are soon back to drive the sonics further into the dense heaviness with the drums pushing forward, almost in blastbeat mode before the vast soundscape is back. No matter how slow the guitars play, the drums still hold a fast pace introducing and opening up for the bass before a crescendo of saturated soundscape drives the track to its end.
The grooving bass drives the next song, ”Ravens”, while the guitars shifts between dense riffs and soloing in the background. The drums steer toward blast mode again making the sludgy guitars go faster before they come to a halt and swirl in high pitch around each other above the fast-paced bass which leads the way to another tsunami onslaught of heavy and dense melodic music. It is extremely well balanced and composed. The always present scream-growling vocals work more and more as an instrument of its own in between sonics of the other instruments.
Every track on this album clocks in around six to seven minutes which gives room for the band to develop each track and using all their composing skills. The fifth track ”3/4” is a showcase of this. It drives forward with heavy melodic riffs, trudging a bit sometimes with energetic drumming, bass riffing and somewhere behind it a dissonant guitar slips in and out of the sonics.
The album closes with ”Redivivus” and it is like all the previous tracks have pointed towards this magnificent piece of atmospheric sludge metal. It is here, where the band really shows that their music is a sequel to what has been before. It is heavy and sludgy, but at the same time it gives a glimpse of light with some high pitched guitar glimmering through. A couple of times it is like the music is imploding on itself. In the mid-section there is a wide and vast soundscape made by the guitars over drums playing like a march tune. Then the whole band is rebooted and a melodic, fast and clear bass guitar takes the lead and drives the dense music to the close of the album.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical reading the album´s promo material. But it took about two minutes before all my skepticism was laid to rest. This is really an awesome, stunning and welcoming new venture into the sonics of atmospheric sludge metal. These Finns show us that it is possible to be inspired by the giants and compose and play the music in one’s own unique way, while keeping true to the genre´s expectations.