If you look at the description of LIGHT? (yes, the band name is spelled with a question mark) on Metal Archives, you will see them listed as being Progressive Death Metal/Doom Metal, and the TMO head-office sent me the promo with the same description. Before the first listen, I was hoping to hear some cool riffing, out-of-the-box song structures, basically all of the elements of technical music I have a stiffy for. To my utter shock, I get some atmospheric Rock with lots of Folk influence and an acoustic guitar. Not exactly what I was expecting, but in the name of journalistic integrity, I listened to “Light?” anyway.
If you enjoy ANATHEMA’s foray into Atmospheric Rock with very subtle melodies, very laid back grooves and melancholic atmosphere, this will be right up your alley. The songs are pretty slow, the melodies very mournful, and due to the music being very simple, this is very immersive and soothing. Picture RADIOHEAD’s, TOOL’s Tori Amos’ and PINK FLOYD’s softest moments, mixed in with some ANATHEMA type mood and OPETH’s clean solo sections, and you’ll have an idea of what these guys sound like. Not to say these guys are stagnant in the dynamics: the songs do have a peak at a point, but it’s so laid-back and unassuming that one must listen closely to notice them.
The openness of the compositions is part of the album’s charm, and the main reason why this is so damn captivating and entrancing. You will be lulled into a dream-like state while listening to this, because it just slithers into you, where you have to listen to this again. And again. And again. And again. Another factor in the charm of the album is the very waviness of the rhythm, due to many parts of the album not having any drums. This gives the album a very meditative and hypnotic feel, so the dream-like state that you will be lulled into is accentuated.
Now, the ONE problem I have with this is the language in which it is sung (probably Russian). Call me xenophobic or close minded or whatever, but when I listen to something with clean vocals, it is very hard for me to get into the singing, and it detracts from my overall enjoyment of the album. But, this is a very huge bias on my part, so take it with a grain of salt.
I can overlook the one gripe I have with the album, because everything else about this is so stellar and done to perfection, especially how well the guitar sound fits the music. The acoustic guitar has a very soft sound, where you can feel every single note, and the nuances that come with playing one are kept, so the sound is very organic. The clean guitar sound is perfectly clear with that well rounded guitar sound (similar to OPETH’s clean soloing sound), and it makes the played passages sound very soothing.
Simply put: an album to get lost into, as you are slowly awaiting Morpheus to take you to his realm.
(Online May 6, 2008)