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Drowning The Light – The Longing [Compilation / Re-Release]

drowning the light – the longing [compilation / re-release]


Most bands start in a rather modest way, probing one’s own musical abilities, gaining experience in writing and recording. In short, demo time. The same, of course, applies to Drowning The Light. Although this band also has a beginning like most, the productivity that typifies the band today has been part of the identity of this Australian Back Metal workaholic right from day one.

In the first year of the band’s existence, no less than four demos were produced, the last three of which were brought together on the ‘The Longing’ compilation CD. This was released to the world on CDR in the last month of 2003 by Azgorh, the band’s driving force and inspirer. Now, anno 2023, it is also being made available for the first time on vinyl, as is now customary by Iron Bonehead Productions.

Spread across two slices of vinyl, the three demos, together accounting for way over an hour of rough sketches of Black Metal, are presented to you. They are ‘The Haunting Of The Black Aristocracy’, ‘Howling Forests Of Desolation’ and ‘Dark Winter Depression’, presented here in the reverse and achronological order. An additional track, ‘Tortured Overture’, exclusive to this collector, has been added as well. This means that Azgorh decided to leave out his very first recording, the ‘Securing Your Future For Satan’-demo, which appeared on January 2nd in 2003. And, according to popular belief, all copies were destroyed by their respective owners at the request of Azgorh himself, which ultimately means that he himself is the only one with a physical copy in his possession.

When listening back to these ancient recordings, it is not Azgorh’s productivity that strikes the most, it is the musical consistency of his work over those two past decades. Of course, the music on offer on these three demo tapes is rawer and definitely less advanced compared to his later work, but it is undeniably Drowning The Light. The band’s musical core is still very much intact, a thoroughly raw sort of Black Metal that is highly interspersed with heavily emotional melodies and a large share of Dungeon Synth/Ambient.

The ten tracks on this compilation, presented in a different order compared to the original CD-pressing, give a good look at the band’s first steps. Generally a lot rawer in character, but not all too far from the mid-2004 independently released debut album, ‘Drowned’. Production-wise, it’s also at demo level, but that’s something that actually serves the songs. Ultimately raw, but equally emotionally charged and equipped with beautiful melodies. Thereby, the share of Dungeon Synth/Ambient is also somewhat larger than on the average later Drowning The Light album, but apart from that, it is of a stunningly phenomenal level. Here and there, however, it does break the vibe of the Black Metal songs a bit, but the whole thing should be seen as demoing, trying out and probing the musical possibilities.

In that light, it is impossible to conclude otherwise than that Drowning The Light not only delivered superb material from the very beginning, but also that it was very much ahead of its time. Meanwhile, combining Dungeon Synth/Ambient and Raw Black Metal in this way is nothing new, but playing all these tracks once more it is clear that this Australian visionary has played an undeniably important part in paving this much-loved musical path.

Iron Bonehead Productions

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