An infernal American duo is back with more of their sonic madness in their vicious new opus, instantly pulling you in with its killer mix of melodic and dissonant riffing.
Formed in 2015 in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States by vocalist and guitarist Andy Schoengrund (Coagulate, Empires, Wolvhammer) together with drummer Andrew Reesen (Censer), Feral Light are a mysterious enigma playing grim and sorrowful Black Metal entwined with savage and unyielding Crust Punk, resulting in what can be labeled as “Blackened Post-Metal”. After a demo, an EP and two full-length albums, this unyielding force of darkness returns in 2020 with their third full-length installment titled Life Vapor, building up on the foundations of its predecessor while increasing the intensity of the music displayed. Recorded and mixed by Kyle Kaliszewski, mastered by James Plotkin (Plotkinworks), and featuring a minimalist and obscure artwork by Unexpected Specter, Life Vapor instantly pulls you in with its killer mix of melodic and dissonant riffing, combining and incorporating various styles including elements of Post-Metal, Black N’ Roll, Doom Metal and Second-Wave Black Metal, materializing as a downcast howl of war-torn vocals funneled through a lyrical content dealing with mysticism and inner struggle.
Experimental and futuristic sounds kick off the scorching opening tune Blood in Sand, with Andrew blasting his drums with tons of rage and precision while Andy barks the song’s grim, austere lyrics rabidly (“A way forward scrawled on obscure hands / Scorched by the touch of the expanse / Grasp past the sun, tethers unravel / Pull from the dark and carry forth”). Then leaning towards classic Norwegian Black Metal we have the massive Assuage, with Andy not only vociferating like a demonic entity but also firing sharp and acid riffs accompanied by Andrew’s infernal drums, also bringing forward an amazing balance between Andy’s strident guitar and his low-tuned bass; and displaying a huge dosage of Doom Metal added to the band’s core sonority, we’re treated to the ominous and heavy-as-hell Walking Tomb, alternating between otherworldly, lugubrious moments and sheer savagery, with Andy’s guitar riffs once again cutting our skin deep without a single drop of mercy.
Exhaling progressiveness, obscurity and harmony, the duo jams in the lands of doom in Last Gasp Invocation, generating an enfolding atmosphere before all hell breaks loose, with the music gradually morphing into a visceral Black Metal onslaught, whereas modern-day Black Metal sounds and tones permeate the air in Hex of Inverses, where both Andy and Andrew sound at the same time venomous and very melodic with their respective weapons. Needless to say, their music will mercilessly penetrate deep inside your psyche and make your skull tremble. And finally, Andy’s slashing riffage and Andrew’s vicious beats will invite you to slam into the pit in the closing tune In Summation, presenting a sulfurous hybrid of old school Black Metal with more contemporary stiles the likes of Post-Metal and Melodic Black Metal, ending the album on a high and Stygian note.
If you want to give Life Vapor a shot, you can enjoy the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but as usual in order to truly support underground metal music I highly recommend you purchase a copy of the album from the band’s official BandCamp page, from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (in regular CD format or as a fantastic bundle including the CD, an exclusive T-shirt, a patch and a sticker), as well as from Apple Music and from Amazon. The infernal Minneapolis-based duo known as Feral Light, who are also waiting for you on Facebook, are definitely paving a very interesting path ahead of them with the constant evolution found in their music, with Life Vapor being undoubtedly their most cohesive and multi-layered work to date. Having said that, you might be asking yourself “what’s next for Feral Light?” Well, only darkness will tell.
Best moments of the album: Assuage and Last Gasp Invocation.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2020 Hypnotic Dirge Records
1. Blood in Sand 7:32
2. Assuage 6:36
3. Walking Tomb 7:18
4. Last Gasp Invocation 7:26
5. Hex of Inverses 5:30
6. In Summation 5:03
Andy Schoengrund – vocals, guitars, bass
Andrew Reesen – drums