Rider Of The Last Light
Review by Felix on May 17, 2020.
Black metal is a weapon against silence, bad feelings and Corona (the hyperactive virologists will confirm this very soon). Occasionally it also puts a smile on your face. Gloom, a new entity from, of course, Finland, have song titles like 'Iron Claws of Black Metal' or 'F**k Your Faith' and these names in combination with the ultra-raw sound give rise to the assumption that we are listening to some comedians who spoof the blackest subgenre the metal world knows. But Finland is always dark, cold and suicidal and therefore we do not need to think about a parody any longer. The poet who wrote the promo tells us that "Gloom is the intersection where ugly urban despair and the madness of the woods meet". Good to know, because I would not have realized it otherwise. In my humble opinion, the band just plays classic black metal. Let's say it's Azaghal with an over-revved production and almost ridiculously abrasive vocals. Gloom are also not far away from Black Beast, to drop another name from the land of the thousand black metal bands. Either way, good nerves are necessary to listen to the eight tracks that constantly sound like a screaming vacuum cleaner gone mad.
Gloom do not start a revolution in terms of Finnish black metal. They rather walk on trodden paths, but they do it with sinister elegance. Their tradition-conscious approach makes them to be very convincing representatives of their country which is going to get more and more the globally leading position with respect to the blackest art – not only in terms of quantity. The songs are based on harshness and slightly melodic leads while developing a good flow. They do not lack coherence and only fools would complain that they fail to show a unique identity. Of course, the songs do not impress with an extra portion of individuality, but the homogeneity of the material is rather a blessing than a curse. Maybe some people permanently need formations that take an entire subgenre "to the next level" and to my big surprise I have read that this is no fault in character. Nevertheless, I do not share this ideology of constant progress. I simply miss the proof that it makes the music (or the world) better. In an era of climate change (yes, it still goes on, although the Corona virus has degraded it to a marginal note) it is all the more necessary that Finnish black metal tastes ice-cold, misanthropic and rabid.
As mentioned before, all songs point in the same direction. Only the title track at the end of the running order houses a pretty strange guitar line that sets in at 2:10. Without the background noise, it could be part of a traditional metal album. However, the inorganic, blurred mix and the bestial aura leave no doubt that one is definitely not listening to pure old school heavy metal. And so I enjoy the tremolo picking of the aforementioned 'Iron Claws of Black Metal' and it's almost dramatic profoundness. I also see no reason to f**k my faith while inhaling the eponymous track which scores with merciless guitars and dynamic outbursts. Finally, the pounding drums, the atmospheric keyboards and the stormy guitars of 'Murder Yourself' make so much sonic fun that I am not able to obey this slightly presumptuous order. Thus, if you have some time, for example because you are no virologist, epidemiologist or just a notorious swaggerer, check out this work. Make these 36 minutes a well-invested lifetime.
Rating: 7.9 out of 1098