Arbrynth – A Place of Buried Light (2020) – Review

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Wait, what? Forest Metal? We had that one already somewhere, right?

And indeed, the muddy ones from the German Black Forest – aka Finsterforst – already claimed that lofty genre. They called it Black Forest Metal. Close enough, I guess.

The slight similarities of the former’s offering with the Australian band Arbrynth‘s A Place of Buried Light made me chuckle a bit, though. Nothing to compare like for like in there, but both bands’ artistic fabric seems to be woven with a similar thread. Must truly be the trees and the Wilde Beasts.

This band indeed takes its sweet time to release more material. Their last record leaked to the public in 2011. So, it took them a friggin’ nine years to try to – finally – become stinking rich with new material. It sure looks like the mills turn slowly in Australia. But – on the other hand – bands have the choice between a decent artistic creation without undue haste and the infamous treadmill. The one that will force them to get new stuff out every two years or so. Ain’t it, Nuclear Blast?

You see, there’s a gazillion bands active in the outback, yet many we looked at did not really cut it. But with Arbrynth, things were a tad different. A Place of Buried Light gorges with pretty high-quality metal that docked onto the RMR deck crew’s metal detectors somewhat fierce.

True, the new album is a more or less direct continuation from its former incarnation. But where their self-titled 2011 piece still sounded a bit rough around the edges, this record here got some extra polish on the production side. Even if they lost the female vocalist Tina Konstantinidis along the way, more’s the pity. Yet, the band instigated a turn to darker and much rougher terrain. Sans the folksier parts that were so present in earlier.

But never fear.

True to their credo, A Place of Buried Light boasts a strangely earthy and alluring brand of steamy alloy. Based on a mix of Melodic Death Metal not unlike Insomnium with pretty strong doomy undertones. With – to my surprise – a rugged but wild mix of ambients, acoustics, and Progressive Metal. A bit along the line of what the former album of Wilderun brought to the table.

Already the first track – Crucible – showcases a pretty good cross-section of the meat and potatoes Buried Light is made of. Melodic Death Metal with a mighty load of doom. And that sometimes at almost funeral speed levels. Then the band confuses you further with weird interchanges in ambient temperature, Alcest-esque clears, and some prog. But what really woke us up is the opening riff. Kinda Heavy Metal in texture – a juicy guitar medley that will prick your ears. A pretty tasty awakening, if there ever was one.

And whilst The Darkness Between The Stars positively lathers itself in Insomnium-esque shenanigans, Shores of Avon Ri really rips this power socket out of the wall. An epic, artfully crafted, mid-tempo piece that turns out almost post-metal in nature. This track truly is some powerful shit and played for way too long on our mighty music machine. One that ended up with a straight 10/10 on our internal track rating.

A Place of Buried Light gorges with this type of complex tunes that high-quality albums are made of. Those that will force you to really concentrate on the offering. None of them are much shorter than 6 minutes, apart from one short intermezzo that should not even exist.

That said, the album exhibits this tendency towards repetitions. And it’s not necessarily the melodies themselves, but you get a slightly similar theme all over. With slight variations that will please the connoisseur. But – again – this may very well annoy the mainstream folks because the whole piece is so highly complex.

But then, whoever said that Buried Light was constructed for the vile mainstream, right?

Now, the record never lets up with that boundless energy but develops an almost electric intensity towards the end. Culminating in A Place of Buried Light (the title track) with its slightly retro, but very progressive guitar riffs. Which then disintegrates into some nice progression that lets the record end with a flourish that is its due.

In the end, here we have one of these records that first took the RMR deck crew by surprise, and then by storm. A Place of Buried Light juicily gallivants across styles, tastes, and flavors. A metal fusion album in a way that explores its opulent soundscapes with gusto. One that will hook you to your earphones until every note is consumed. Take my word for it.

Record Rating: 8/10| Label: Self-Released| Web: Official Band Site
Album Release: 3 February 2020

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