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At Light's Demise

United States Country of Origin: United States

At Light's Demise
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: April 5th, 2024
Label: Independent
Genre: Atmospheric, Black
1. At Light's Demise
2. Cessation Of Hope
3. The Epitaph
4. Time The Mournful
5. Bleak House
6. Silver Birch
7. The Blind Observer

Review by TheOneNeverSeen on March 30, 2024.

Taking that important step between one’s first EP and debut full-length is somewhat challenging, as the songwriting style used in a shorter release may not work in a longer one. A band can fall in the trap of self-repetition, rendering the album boring and predictable. Thankfully, that has not happened to Cistvaen, as At Light’s Demise is, same as its predecessor, a highly atmospheric release any fan of the genre is likely to enjoy.

Without any intro the title track instantly kicks in with a powerful riff and crunchy bass I loved so much on 'The Voice of an Old God'. Aside from the calm interlude similar to that of 'Under the Silent Meadow Skies', the most notable part of the track is the brilliant harmonies at 01:44 and 06:32. The second single and my personal favorite, 'Cessation of Hope' has a great immersive melody the exciting feeling of which reminds me again of 'Under the Silent Meadow Skies' and another calm acoustic interlude. The rest of At Light’s Demise is also pretty consistent with the main source of inspiration being hard to identify (unlike, say, the melody of 'The Voice of an Old God' which reminded me of Woods of Desolation).

In spite of the album’s bleak song titles, I’d say it’s more pensive than dark (although it is not devoid of ominous elements such as the riff at 01:01 of 'Time the Mournful'). The sound is cleaner than before with the drums standing out more from the rest of the mix, at times resulting in a Moonlight Drowns-like feeling that the band already had on the single 'Kistvaen'. Guy Taylor’s vocals are as strong as on Under the Silent Meadow Skies, contributing greatly to the atmosphere. As with 'Waiting', Cistvaen manage to write long repetitive tracks without making them boring (and, same as that song’s intro, create quite a few epic melodies such as the intro of 'The Epitaph', 04:11 of 'Bleak House' or the outro of the last track). The main ways in which they achieve this are the aforementioned tranquil interludes ('Silver Birch' and the interlude by the end of 'The Blind Observer' may not be 'Feathers Fell', but are nice nonetheless), uneven drums (it’s nice to see the progression since the imperfect drums of 'The Voice of an Old God') and the powerful melodies ensuring the album’s engrossing flow is not interrupted by any conventional riffing.

At Light’s Demise is a great atmospheric/post black metal record that I would definitely recommend to all thoughtful wandering enjoyers. It’s not a game-changer, but still a remarkable release that will send you to the foggy woods you see on the cover the same way Cistvaen’s first EP uplifted me with its melodies and its Night Spirit- and Cagghenvinna-like cover.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10