BLACK CANDLE - Lost Light Of The North

Black Candle - Lost Light Of The North

7 songs
37:42 minutes
***** **


Over the last few years, Luxembourg has developed a rather impressive music scene, especially when it comes to metal. And yet, while thrash metal, death metal and metalcore have left their mark on the map, other subgenres of extreme metal seem to have a harder time to find a footing in this small country. Take for instance black metal. Although several black metal bands are listed at the Metal Archives page, only a few became better known, like Azazel, Vindsval and Black Candle. The latter might be the most constant band in this dark music genre. Founded more than two decades ago, Black Candle have never been known for their subtlety of approach. Three years after their third longplayer Smoke And Monoliths, they are back with a the promotional album Lost Light Of The North with which they hope to find the support of a record label.

In times where black metal has evolved into many different subgenres (progressive, symphonic, avantgarde,… and frankly too many to mention), it feel somehow strange to encounter a group of people still adhering to the very early roots of the movement. Black Candle are raw, direct, at times even primitive, and that is what makes this trio’s music actually very charming. The new album comes with seven songs, two of which are an interlude and an outro. So we don’t get that much new music, but what we get is definitely worth discovering. The opener You Are... Nothingness begins fast, with fierce guitar riffs, a rhythm section doing their best to keep up, then somewhat slows down before picking up speed again. The vocal part all of a sudden lets the music slow down again, with some undistorted guitar parts sprinkled in, and even some keyboard atmospheres for good measure. Four minutes into the song, it becomes fast and furious once again. All in all this seven minute track shows that Black Candle don’t give a fuck about regular songwriting and surprise time and again with unexpected parts. The second song is just as long and comes with the long Luxembourgish title Leschten Akt: Vereenegt géint d’Jünger vun der Dräifaltegkeet an hire Patréiner vun de Schwäin, which roughly translates as "Last act: united against the apostles of the holy trinity and the patron saints of the pigs". This song starts in a weirder way, with slightly atonal guitar riffs that reminded me of Voivod, although that might be a coincidence. Once again there are a lot of sluggish parts that work really well, building up a creepy tension. Even the bass guitar has some nice complex patterns to play, which is often unusual for the genre. The fast parts of the song feel more direct and in your face. Portal In The Woods also makes it to nearly seven minutes and is a wonderful sludge doom black metal track that feels like the proto black metal of Hellhammer. The short instrumental In The Ghost Mountains, not even three minutes long, is a moody piece with some nice if not always too cleanly played guitar parts. Dommedag – Deres siste Natt comes with a Norwegian title and possibly even Norwegian lyrics (who can tell after all?) that shows Black Candle’s love for early Norwegian black metal. D’Wiese vun der Nuecht – Wa wäiss Engele fallen (The creature of the night – When white angels fall) once again has Luxembourgish lyrics, with its first part a moody instrumental with undistorted yet heavily FXed guitar and gloomy keyboards, and its second part building up on the first one, making this the closest Black Candle ever came to a ballad probably. The album ends with the spooky outro Gray Ritual, which is very dark ambient like, if you like that kind of thing.

Black Candle might not be the subtlest band around, but over the years they have found their own voice. Even though their music sounds slightly chaotic at times, repeated listening will let you understand that they are actually quite gifted musicians. The vocals are rough, harsh and primitive, perfectly fitting the dark and evil atmosphere of their music. The guitar sounds best during the sludgy parts, although the faster ones come with a certain punk attitude that isn’t bad either. The bass guitar is astonishingly elaborated for a primal black metal band, while the occasionally shaky drums have all the charm of an early Sodom recording. Let us not forget that Lost Light Of The North is only a promotional album, recorded by the band themselves, and yet it is still highly listenable. Fans of dirty black metal with a no-holds-barred attitude will relish this short yet effective record.

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