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Predatory Light – Death And The Twilight Hours Award winner

Predatory Light
Death And The Twilight Hours
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 18 July 2022, 1:48 AM

PREDATORY LIGHT is a Black/Doom metal band, whose members hail from New Mexico and Washington state.  They formed in 2011 and “Death and the Twilight Hours,” being their second full length album; they have also released two demos and a split. “Death And The Twilight Hours,” is an album that focuses on song writing, rather than try to fit into any preconceived notions driven by their genre. Their sound treads the waters of both  doom and black metal but they never choose on over the other. The atmosphere, and much of the melodies definitely recall doom, especially the slower parts. The riffs, drums, and production echo much of what makes black metal such a viable genre and further proves the point that black and doom go great together not only because they often times share similar qualities but also because they compliment each other styles so much that there doesn’t have to be a give and take on what direction the music should go.

As such, the four tracks and thirty-eight minute run time is a very cohesive experience, from one moment to the next. Nothing is out of place and every thing runs just as it should— and the length is long for such a small number of tracks but not overly so this is an experience that can be felt many times over without exhaustion. A lot of people may balk at the idea of such long songs but I enjoy long form song writing—and with the album still well under an hour, I don’t really see the problem. Speaking of guitar, guitarist K. Morgan, who is in VANUM as well (who have also released a great album this year that I reviewed), and vocalist/guitarist L.S. are the MVPs of the album. They throw in both a lot of depressive melodies and aggression—no matter what they bring to the songs, the style is always impressive. I don’ know if I would call it technical but it is definitely engrossing and intricate.

The rhythm section must be noted too because it is solid as hell and meaty as one of those turkey legs you get at a renaissance fair. D.J’s bass and D.M.’s drums aren’t overly complicated but nor are they simple—the foundation they provide the songs is just straight forward with the goal being to uphold it all on their shoulders yet still be interesting on their own. They pull it off, needless to say. The album opens with the longest track, “The Three Living And The Three Dead,” and a quiet build up of simple, clean tones. The distortion fades in at just the right pacing—plenty of time to enjoy the journey but never falling behind from where the song wants to go. And it goes into dismal, heavy riffs and hellish vocals. It doesn’t take long for the band to present their brand of melody—and it melds in so well that all the sounds can be taken in at once. The bass and drums keep the song heavy yet forward thinking just enough to push the song
forward.

Parts of the song are very lush and layered, the atmosphere colliding with the metal in a swirling miasma. My favorite movement of the song is from about 9:45 all the way to the end of the nearly fourteen minute length. These five minutes or so are slow yet consistence with the feel of the prior moments of the song. I really like the guitar and how is contrasts with the vocals yet I can’t imagine them apart either. The second track, “Wracked By Sacred Fires,” is also the shortest and it is interesting that within the first two songs, the band presents the end extremes of their song lengths. I don’t know if they did that on purpose or not but it is a smart mood as it shows how well their song writing can adept to different song structures within different frames of time. This song begins more immediate has a nice little grove going through it, especially with the bass. The drums compliment extremely well during the groovier parts—the band has incredible synergy. The song grows increasingly aggressive as the second tick by but it shadows of the previous minutes can be heard—these songs never forget where they come from even has they enter new territory.

The title track is up next and the tone and feel of the instruments definitely give it a raw feel, a vicious slice of black metal. The bass is really great here, melodic yet thick. The drums take on a more aggressive measure, injecting constant energy into the song as it leads to the middle portion, which is clean but highly memorable tones. There is a bit of a post feel here with how the guitar plays out and the driving of the rhythm. A very slick, well done memorable song that is probably my second favorite behind the opening song. The final track is “To Plead Like Angels,” and the band throws out all the stops for the finale as this song truly melds in their doomy black metal into a seamless journey. I loved the guitar in the middle portion of the song, throwing in notes that could pass for melodic passages or solos. Regardless, it reverberates through the song with ease and would noticeably change the very essence of it, were it absence. That’s how you know the guitarists know what they are doing: if you can remove any one piece and not really change the song, then they are just treading water.

PREDATORY LIGHT does anything but tread—they conquer these brackish seas with a highly engaging and adventurous extreme metal album that is “Death And The Twilight Hours.”

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Three Living And The Three Dead
2. Wracked By Sacred Fires
3. Death and the Twilight Hours
4. To Plead Like Angels
Lineup:
K.M.  - Guitars, Organ
L.S. - Guitars, Vocals
D.J. - Bass
D.M. - Drums
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin
     


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Edited 06 October 2022
 

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