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Drift Into Black – Patterns of Light Award winner

Drift Into Black
Patterns of Light
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 01 March 2021, 2:30 PM

DRIFT INTO BLACK is a doom metal band from New Jersey, formed in 2017.  The mastermind behind the project is Craig Rossi, formerly of the band GREY SKIES FALLENCraig has been prolific with his band as “Patterns of Light,” is the third full length album since 2018.  In addition, an EP was released in 2017.  “Patterns of Light,” is an album of variety.  While there is no doubt this is firmly within the doom genre, I like how it doesn’t stick to any particular type of doom.  With doom being made up of even more subgenres, having this type of variety helps keep the album constantly fresh and always emotionally heavy and moving.

At times, and as expected of its genre, the album can be morose, dark, and harrowing.  However, Craig has a purpose within this madness—his song writing skills tie all the themes and emotions together for a listening experience that stays cohesive among the many moods presented across the forty-six minute runtime of the eight tracks.  “Patterns of Light,” isn’t an album that is heavy for sake of heavy—having an album trapped in its own darkness can close off the experience for the listener but this album isn’t like that.  Lighter moments that capture the melody and ethereal side are captured well here, sewn into the heavier side of the musical fabric well enough where nothing  sounds too disjointed.  As far as the album sounds, it is mixed well but I thought the guitar could use a bit more punch.

The Silent Autumn,” opens the track with a lengthy intro but it’s despair ridden tones are beautiful, the keys and guitar mixing together as one with the chanting/spoken word voices. Within seconds after the intro finishes, “Among The Beast,” starts with the dropping of a heavy guitar note, the tone laying down a suffocating backdrop for the death growls to push through.  The riffs play off the vocals patterns well and the lead guitar shines through with melody that is born out of the riffs in a natural way.  Around the two minute mark, Craig lets lose his clean vocals.  He has a great voice and sounds different from a lot of other clean vocalists in the genre.  His cleans come off somewhat maddening at times yet ethereal at others.  He is as versatile a vocalist as he is a musician and such a combo always pays off, as it does for the album as well.

Around the 4:30 mark, the guitars and bass become melodic and the accompanying passage stands out as a highlight for the song.  The drums and vocals give their all, reaching a climax as the song returns back to the doom and gloom. “Mother In Peril 9,” is one of my favorites on the album—the song’s beginning is drenched in Gothic melancholy that sounds both urgent and sorrowful.  The clean vocals play off this opening mood as they effortlessly turn into death growls, which are backed by some of the best riffs on the album and a flurry of drums.  The song’s mid portion is lead by a hypnotic riff that lends the song an atmospheric touch before getting a lot more intense near the five minute mark, where the guitars and drums help the vocals double down on the more death metal side of things.

Thread Of Hope,” is a bit of a curve ball on the album but it works out very well to showcase an album that isn’t afraid to step outside the box and can captured the unexpected.  The pace of the song is much faster and upbeat than what came before but the main riff is catchy as hell.  As the song gets more melodic, the guitar remains open and with less gloom.  But the rest of the song plays off the precedent set and moves forward with smooth flow and helps the clean vocal chorus become of the album’s most and ear grabbing moments.  At the four minute mark onward, it all comes together for one fast paced wall of sound that just pushes itself into the chorus one final time.

And then we come to the title track, “Patterns of Light,” which is divided into two parts.  This song really moved me and changed my mind about the album.  Although I found everything up to this point to be very solid, these two ending moments pushed it a notch higher for me and pushed it all to another level.  Both tracks, together and separate, carry the emotional weight of the album’s heaviest moments but they capture intangible feelings that are hard to present with words.

The first part begins with sullen keys and clean guitar notes.  It is almost psychedelic but its more dismal than haze filled. The clean vocals flow on top of the melodic riffs and bass while the drums lay down a foundation for it all to stand upon.  The song is delicately balanced between light and dark elements, with the death growls placed well enough in the song where their heaviness doesn’t offset the morose melodies in the beginning but instead compliment them and bring the song higher.  The bass around the 3:50 mark is just outstanding and Craig singing “save me” made the hair stand up on my arms.  And how about the melodic passage that starts around the 4:30 mark?  Just encompassing and prepossessing that captures the overall feel of the album but still fits within context of the song

The second part begins with very downtrodden keys and the lyrics, “a tragic story she never got to tell, a promise made to her before she passed away to be united at her final resting place.”  Jesus…if I had tear ducts, I would probably cry.  When the song gets heavy, a dirge of melodic doom just hits me right in the feels.  Every element in the song, in the album, comes together for this final song.  The lead guitar captures the mood and feel of the lyrics while the drums work with the bass and guitars to keep in grounded on a solid foundation that manages to lend the song a bit of hope.

DRIFT INTO BLACK’s “Patterns of Light,” is a heavy album but on a different level than much of the music I have reviewed so far this year.  Sure it’s doom and it is metal but the psychological   and mental weight is what makes it stand out and how the music works to express makes it stick with you long after the last notes have ended.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Silent Autumn
2. Among The Beast
3. Mother In Peril 9
4. The Burial Gown
5. Thread of Hope
6. Her Voice From Beyond
7. Patterns of Light Pt 1
8. Patterns of Light Pt 2
Craig Rossi – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Klemen Markelj – Drums
Paul LaPlaca – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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