Last updated on 1 January 2021
The exception proves the rule, right? You see, we have this doctrine over here. The one that said that thou shalt cover no instrumental record. Lest you pollute RMR’s belief that good rock’n’roll and metal must contain lyrics. But will a record with scarce wording and even stranger howling fall under that very same denomination?
Well, with Aleynmord‘s debut album The Blinding Light one could argue that the weird screams actually are lyrics. Which they ain’t until one of those rare moments arrive that could qualify as a lyrical performance. Or maybe there’s more of this, only that we don’t quite fathom Black Metal speak. An alien language if there ever was one.
So, the RMR policy enforcement squad can rest easy. No guideline has been violated, words were indeed found on that blurb. Peace on ye, lower your weapons, and don’t blast any doors to smithereens. Even if the record is probably as close to instrumental Black Metal as one can get.
Now, The Blinding Light is a fascinating hairy beast. An inexplicable something that just makes you continue down the tracklist, until the short airplay of a svelte 35 minutes grinds to a halt. All of it is carved out of that raw Black Metal style that bands sometimes try to use when depicting grand landscapes.
A mixture of a primitive and crude version of Alcest, mixed with a primeval edition of Sojourner. In a way, this whole thing feels a bit like Summoning in search of a fantasy novel to base their story on. Because – let’s face it – to cover nature in all its complex splendor is much more difficult than simply following a mirage. A daydream of somebody’s hallucination.
In other words, you’ll get some drone-ish Blackgaze, Black Metal, and Post Black Metal all cooked to perfection in one giant cauldron. True tremolos follow acoustics with an ambient look and feel and loads of atmospherics. And all of that syncs perfectly with a mix and master that loses nothing. That is what I call a soundscape that is somehow grander than life. And this is not something I have often experienced in my numerous forays into Extreme Metal.
Now let’s circle back to the lyrics real quick. The shrieks, yells, and chanted vocals that scatter themselves all around the record really perfectly round the record up. Without this decidedly weird choice to garnish your tracks with unintelligible roaring, The Blinding Light would definitely feel like déjà-vu. But it doesn’t, and that is a good thing.
It’s funny and at the same time telling that the duo of Aleynmord apparently sequestered themselves in a place called the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. With the intent to soak up local atmospherics and to lap up a few hundredweights of the essence of the endless power of Gaia.
And truly so, The Blinding Light tries to reproduce what the band experienced during their time in the boonies. A musical representation of an area that already looks awesome from the few pictures I had the pleasure to look at.
In the end, it is difficult to describe the allure The Blinding Light exerts on the neurons of the listener. It is a truly emotional piece, pretty perfectly arranged, with a flow that other records still search for.
And it goes deep. This is one of these albums that – with all its dissonance – manages to reach down low into the sub-conscious. A soundscape with an almost antediluvian look and feel, an emotion that modern-day man cannot really cope with anymore. One that truly talks to that long-forgotten raw soul of the hunter-gatherer. And indeed so, their tune seems to spill from a time where yells were communication and strange noises mortal threats.
A strangely uneasy, yet pretty stellar experience. A depiction of the grandeur of nature and vast spaces that many attempted and few achieved.
Yet these guys did it, in spades.
Ed’s note: And the record successfully made it onto the 2020 Top 10 Records. Congrats!
Get dat tune: