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Silver Tongue


Light Bearer


self-released on BandCamp

Release Date:


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  From their Bandcamp page: “the band is an all encompassing DIY art, music and narrative project. Dramatic, heavy atmospheric post rock, doom and drone against allegories of atheism, feminism and free thought ideology.” As discussed earlier, during the winter months I have a thing for drone and sludge core.

Thoughts: So let's make this clear: Light Bearer is a metal band. A doom metal band that incorporates a lot of drone and post-rock elements into their sound, but at the heart of the matter, they're a metal band. If that's not clear enough from the fact that the band's name, album title and album artwork are all direct references to Lucifer, the Fallen, King of Hell, it should become abundantly apparent to anyone listening when the vocals kick in at the 5:24 mark of the Silver Tongue's opening track, Beautiful Is The Burden. Alex - that's all he's listed as on the band's website, just Alex - bursts in at the first surge of aggression with classic doom metal growl. This is a metal band.

If you're observant, you'll have noted that bit about the vocals kicking in "at the 5:24 mark" of the opening track. That's not a typo. The song begins in a very post-rock, drone sort of way, all atmospheric slow build, complete with keys and strings (of the non-guitar variety), gathering for five minutes plus, climbing toward its first peak and then launching headlong into the maelstrom. The vocals and traditionally metal instrumentation hits: power chords, electrified distortion, kick drums. Crescendo fades a bit; classic post-rock ebb and flow technique. Up and down, build and crash... For eighteen minutes and sixteen seconds. And it's still only the second longest of the disc's seven tracks! Album closer (and title track) Silver Tongue clocks in at a massive 19:41. In fact, only the pivot/interlude Clarus, at a mere 2:37, clocks in under eleven minutes. Which, again equals post-rock inflected doom metal. It's what they do.

If you go to the band's website, you can read up on their biography, the extensive narrative behind their entire discography. (Hint: Silver Tongue is merely a chapter in a four disc art project built around Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, John Milton's Paradise Lost, and the book of Genesis...) You can also read up on their ideologies and such, if you're feeling adventurous. Or you could just listen to the album and go with that.

At the end of the day, Light Bearer makes music that sounds to me like a harder, heavier, metal version of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Most of the atmospheric builds and pre-crescendos could be lifted directly from the Canadian post-rock scene of the late 90s. The distinction being that 1) when the crescendo hits, it's carried forward by power guitar work and standard metal percussion rather than the orchestrations preferred by bands on Constellation Records; and 2) instead of found sound and field recordings, the vocals are more conventional and, again, metal. Yet oddly enough, it all works pretty well. It helps that I can't understand and don't care whatsoever what they're singing/growling about. The real value here is the atmosphere created by the whole, not the specifics of anything being said by the various singers.

Final Judgment: It requires a specific mood; you don't just wander into 20 minute opuses about the fall of man, the rebellion of Eve, and the final battle against "the Allfather/Patriarch" mindlessly. And it's a bit hard on the random play function of the iPhone. When these guys spin up randomly, they often get skipped forward after a few minutes or so. They don't play particularly well with power pop and two-minute punk anthems. But when you're in the mood for it? This is pretty good stuff! I generally like Godspeed!. I generally like metal. So what's not to like about Godspeed! metal? Two great tastes that taste great together and all that... Five sponges.

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