Monday, August 6, 2012

Northless / Light Bearer - Split (2012)

Split, Halo of Flies
March, 2012

Genre: Sludge/Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal
Region: USA / UK

Inresurrection already did a review of Light Bearer's side of this great split not long ago, but now that the full record has been out for a few months and I've had time to run through it I'm gonna review both sides. And it's a great combination of bands for a split I must say.

Northless contributes two big tracks in their inimitable, bone breaking style. Admittedly they're not as impressive as Clandestine Abuse for me but they remain gigantic. "Tears From Crime" is the opener of their side with it's mid-paced lumbering, a pulverizing song that has dropped some of the noticeable dissonance from their full length for the most part. It's still a loud and debilitating boulder of sound from beginning to end in spite of being more straight forward, and slows a notch down in the last quarter of the song with intermittent bouncy strings of notes punctuating the massive powerchords.

Once you hit the next track "For As Long As You Walk The Earth Your Blood Will Reek Of Failure" which is a few minutes longer, the hardcore pacing comes back for the beginning — as does some of their previously mentioned epic scraping angularity once the track slows down. It swings back between ripping hardcore-ish sections and sluggish creeping, writhing marches. Nearing the end after a melodic build the song grinds down slowly bringing the doom right to the front with an evil sheen, and settles into a nice groove.

Light Bearer as most people know emerged from the ashes of the great Fall of Efrafa, and their debut record Lapsus was a great slab of post-metal. Personally I felt that it did not reach the captivating level that any of Fall of Efrafa's records did, and meandered a little more than meeting satisfying climaxes. Their side of this split titled "Celestium Apocrypha: Book of Watchers" though is a huge step up in my opinion, does absolutely everything right and is the highlight of this record. The strength displayed in Fall of Efrafa is back here — I may have to return to Lapsus to see if my opinion has changed.

The 22 minutes drift by with a deeply satisfying atmosphere, and reaches soaring peaks that will put you into a dream-like state. The first half (minus the ominous, noisy intro soundscape) slowly mounts with steady percussion before bursting wide open with excellent, simple lurching and chugging guitar and bass riffs that cycle back on themselves in a strong, very murky ditch of sludge. A familiar harsh raspy growl surfaces occasionally in a smooth rhythm with the rest of the instruments.

The build is phenomenal with some carefully used effects to punch it up a little, then a quiet valley of cleans confronts you after the bigger riffs dissipate about 10 minutes in. This section is quite something, buffered by cycling synths or samples, and a bit of clean singing. It's dark and cold at first (reminding me of moments in Fall of Efrafa's "Inle") — breaking at one point for some brief bigger, distorted riffs — but once you enter the final third of the track the smooth bass lines lull you, and shimmering post-metal clasps itself to your brain creating an ethereal wave of light that rises continuously right to the final fade.

Highly recommended split this one. If you're a fan of either band you'll enjoy this. Halo of Flies has this record up for sale now so go get it. You can also hear each side of the split streaming here and here; and Light Bearer put up their side for download as well.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)

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