…And Then, The Light of Consciousness Became Hell…
posted on 4/2011 By:
Funeral doom can be a real bastard. This sub-sub-genre is supposed to be able to convey to the listeners the deepest desperation and existential hopelessness, but it can easily fall into deep/cheap melodrama. At its best (see Evoken, Thergothon and Morgion for reference) funeral doom manages to create this frame of mind in the listener through its slower-than-slow rhythms, sad, echoing (as if from the depths of a tomb…) chord progressions and despairing vocals. At its craziest (as it happens with Catacombs), it’s just a cavernous, occult dread that might easily sound as simply OTT to some listeners as it does revelatory to others. And at its worst, it’s just middle-of-the-road goth rock played really slow, with heavier guitars and “brootal” vocals and it sounds plainly moppish.
Thankfully, Brazil’s HellLight manages to take the proper path for funeral doom and …And Then The Light Of Consciousness Became Hell can become a truly harrowing experience in the realm of slow-and-low music. There’s a lot of majesty contained in the music, what with the imposing but never irritating synths taking the forefront, along with the crushing guitars. There’s also a lot of despair, expressed through the harsh vocals and the sloth-like rhythms and minor, dismal chords. What matters most, though, is the balance struck between these two elements, making it neither melodramatically maudlin, nor brutally pushback-y.
Let’s be honest, though: as this is funeral doom to the core, there’s not much variation to be found in the music. Everything’s extremely slow, dark and despairing and guarantees to wilt happiness or any other positive feeling a listener might harbor. So, basically, this is music for the more hardened aficionados of doom, those who don’t go to it for the slug-like groove found in the genre’s more “classic” purveyors, but who go to wallow in the misery that (under proper conditions) this kind of music can invoke. HellLight smartly manages to at least differentiate every song from each other, through clearly defined riffs for each of them and nice instrumentation and interplay, although I think that the band wants us to see ...ATTLOCBH as one huge (almost-80-minute-long) experience, to be enjoyed (or endured, take your pick) in one take.
So is everything happy bunnies and shiny clouds here? No. My main gripe lays in the use of clean -- almost falsetto -- vocals on some songs. They’re less effective than the growls mainly used in the record, and I suspect that they might annoy the listener. Also, the band needs to better edit its songs, as their lengths tend to push them into redundancy and to threaten one’s attention. Plus, if a little more care was paid to production details matters would’ve surely been better. (The guitars might’ve needed a bit more presence and, ehm, crunch.) All in all, though, fans (although I’m not exactly sure that the term can be implemented here…) of well-thought and well-played funeral doom will be happy to know that HellLight provides the goods and they are imminently check-out-able.
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