Though a slightly older release, almost a year now, “Light That Is Called Darkness” is still well worthy of your attention. I initially grabbed it for review, after a brief preview, mostly because it was labelled as raw Black Metal, a style I’m binging on at the moment. Upon further review, I actually mostly disagree with this assessment. While there are elements of a more raw style, I would not consider this a true raw release (or a trve raw release, if you’d like). Rather, I think this is well hidden melodic Black Metal.
As a style, melodic Black Metal often features excellent riffs full of feeling (on the positive side) and a little-bit-too-slick production value (on the negative side). There are plenty in this style that I like, but plenty more that I don’t based on the latter reason. Thankfully, Nordligblåst have a wealth of riffs full of feeling, while keeping the production clear, but not overly slick. I’m guessing this is where the suggestion of raw comes into play.
“Where Light That Is Called Darkness” moves away from the more raw side is in the style of riffing and complexity of composition. I mean this is a positive way, though I have a definite soft spot for the somewhat more simple, though still tightly composed, raw Black Metal scene. Nordligblåst layers waves of melodic riffs in a dense ebb and flow of hatred and pensive darkness. Some of the riffs are subtly and surprisingly dissonant, much more than I expected, though not in an in-your-face way. The weave of it creates a spell of mystery and disturbing feral melancholy.
Noticeable bass and varied, yet relentless drumming are the ocean floor of this dark sea of pathos, while the vocals cut through like a finned predator on the hunt, with a variety of mid range gritty shouts and growls. Subtle touches, like the gongs in “Shadow”, complete the complex picture painted by the release, adding an atmospheric touch, though not in the genre sense of Atmospheric Black Metal.
“Light That Is Called Darkness” pulls from so many subgenres and does so in an extremely successful way. The album is a slow burner in that it doesn’t immediately call for attention. It asks you to wait with it, listen to it, revel in it, and be lost in it. If you give it a chance, it won’t take long to be drawn into the world of Nordligblåst. You’ll be richer for it, though you may find yourself lost along the way. Full support for this subtle beauty. (Hayduke X)