Predatory Light – Predatory Light
(Psychic Violence Records/ Invictus Productions)
Predatory Light are a band I’ve been watching since they first jumped onto the scene. With their first two demos, they established themselves as one of the best black metal bands in the American underground. With the two demos, Predatory Light showcase songs with frenzied, spiraling black metal riffs, ghoulish atmosphere, and doom inclinations. On their debut, Predatory Light retain what made their initial offerings so wicked, but with a more old school approach.
A haunting synthesizer lead starts the album, slowly fading in and creating an unsettling atmosphere. From feedback rise hellfire riffs, setting the tone for the rest of the album. This time around there is less of a focus on suffocating atmosphere, and more on crafting sinister riffs that will make you bang your head. Each riff on this album is evil, with the intention of corrupting your mind with each listen. I never thought I’d hear a black metal album with so many earworm riffs. It’s hard not to hum along with each repeated listen. In addition to the trilling riffs abundant on this record, the album sounds absolutely fantastic. The guitar tones are simple yet effective, dark when hammering on power chords and bright when playing leads. The bass tone is gnarly, with a heaping amount of fuzzy grit and some chorus to warm the sound. The drums sound fantastic, with crisp cymbals, bouncing kicks, and sharp snare. The vocals on this album range from deep growls, ghastly wretches, to blood curdling screams like the first scream on “Sacrum (Feral Devotion)”.
What I love so much about this album is it gives you the evil nature black metal 1st wave black metal, but doesn’t rely on common black metal tropes. There isn’t a single mention of anything satanic or occult on this album. Instead, the evil on this album comes from within, and the need to escape the torment of reality. For Predatory Light, liberation comes from ritual excarnation, shedding the flesh and bone that imprisons us. This is evident in the music. To me, each dissonant melody and every anxious scream sounds like an attempt to break out of the body, and return to the darkness from which all life originated. Whether or not you wish to delve into the nefarious energy this album possesses, one thing is certain. This album is chock-full of really fucking cool riffs.