Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Exiled From Light - There Is No Beauty Left Here. 84/100.

I’ve known about Exiled From Light for some time now. I am not under any illusion as to what Mort, a fairly overused pseudonym for black metal musicians, has to offer. I can see he has “bedroom based musician” written all over him, but his output, that I have heard anyway, has been fairly well produced and offered abstract material to the anguished minds of black metal fans who enjoy escaping their own problems and venturing into the minds of others, often negative characters. He is often the sole musician and has numerous obscure projects that, surely, he must not be able to spend quality time on. However, though this may seem to be the case, he has a fair amount of talent within his evidently troubled soul and has managed to, without being too brave or daring, produce two finely portrayed acts in Exiled From Light and When Mine Eyes Blacken, generally the more appreciated of the two. I’ve never heard any of his other projects and do not hold much information on them. They too could be depressive bands and, again, they too could be his one man projects. I do not know. I feel a little puzzled by his actions however, as Exiled From Light are fairly similar to When Mine Eyes Blacken - only differing in a few minor ways - and often ask myself whether there is any need to portray two similarly based sounds over two projects. Couldn’t he condense the sounds of both bands, taking elements of each of them and pour it into one project which he spends all of his time endeavouring to make sure that they endure the test of time and don’t succumb to the usual sub standards that most depressive bands do.

One hit wonders aren’t exactly widespread within this field, but there is a feeling they could become that way if the fans aren’t drawn back to the not-so-mysterious field anymore. I understand the limitations of such music and the negative connotations that come attached to any and every depressive black metal band. I accept them and move on, persevering through the shit, on my way to something more worthwhile. I would most certainly consider Exiled From Light to be a worthwhile venture for any depressive fan, but not necessarily anyone else. This style of music only appeals to a certain crowd and Exiled From Light are not about to breach the barriers that constrain this sound to a minimal audience, rather than a universal feeling of acceptance. This style is too downbeat and too negative to pull in the massive crowds. It isn’t catchy, despite consisting of repetitive melodies. It isn’t traditionally based, limiting the type of fans this will receive. Usually, the tag alone is enough to warn most people off from even bothering to listen, but I myself like the challenge of finding the very few rewarding bands hidden in the depths of the decay and rot this sub-genre has to offer. Beleaguered as it may be, depressive black metal boasts some strong outfits, one’s that usually dominate the mind and linger in terms of the impression they create months afterwards. A great example of this is Canada’s Gris, whom aren’t exactly your typical depressive band.

Instead of adhering to the numerous and much disparaged elements of bedroom black metal, with poor production values and awfully designed material depleted with problems that only an angst ridden teenager could accept as worthy of appreciation, Gris take it upon themselves to reach out to people who aren’t necessarily fans of this type of music, or even black metal itself. I feel that their style, given its vast experimental factor and the appeal generated from it, Gris have the ability to shake the genre into action and thus, draw in people from outside realms of metal. Whilst Exiled From Light, and Mort himself, do not seem to have the same sort of leadership qualities, or even the charisma to mount any sort of serious charge for the potential fans, this band, and Mort himself, don’t simply exist for the sake of existing. This lifeless breed of music is certainly one of the better takes on the depressive sound, using all the mainstay themes; such as repetition, plenty of sorrowful connotations within the soundscapes and hollow screams. Whilst doing this, Exiled From Light manage to establish themselves as a different breed by containing a sound that draws out a sort of spiritual ambiance from the almost uplifting keyboards that play a pivotal role in the success of the debut, ‘There Is No Beauty Left Here’. The self-titled song shows this superbly and delicately as the keyboards, which offers the only shimmer of light in the bleak darkness and, ironically, offers a beautiful texture at the base of the abstract work which evokes many feelings within the reflective listener.

The haunting piano based work on the self-titled song does show that Mort can deviate, by he is more reliant on old ways to project his feelings of pain and sorrow, as shown in his indecipherable rasping vocals. The irony in the contrast between the title and the material makes this a little unbelievable, but this is easy enough to overlook when considering the offering. As previously stated, though this band and When Mine Eyes Blacken are similar, there are a few fundamental differences that makes the two almost seem worthy of being separate entities (though I would still prefer it as one whole project). The vocals are portrayed differently, with more emphasis on the screams on When Mine Eyes Blacken’s debut and the guitar work, obviously, differs a slight, but the overall projection is just so similar, that one entity would be more accessible and a much more viable option. As with When Mine Eyes Blacken, one senses that the songs are perhaps too long. I’m a fan of lengthy songs, but Mort does tend to drag things out and thus, this allows the good work to be undone by a petering out ending, which really upsets the tone of the record as much of the material is solidly written (especially the juxtaposed ideals in the guitars and keyboards). The drums sound lightweight, but they’re not an essential quality that makes much of a difference either way to the band. Unfortunately, the production is a bit thin, though not lo-fi. Having said that, once again, the bands portrayal is strong enough to warrant more praise than criticism. Exiled From Light will need to continue this strong display on the sophomore, or perish as many other depressive bands have done.

1 comment:

  1. Actually this 2008 version os a total sham. Someone just took some songs from the EfL myspace, and put a collection of songs together and spread it around the internet as a real album. In reality it's just a collection of songs from a myspace rip.

    The real 'There is no beauty left here...' was released through Hypnotic Dirge Records on July 22nd, 2010 as a double-album on Pro-CD/Edition of 500. and is a lot different than the fake 2008 myspace rip.