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Two All-Beef Patties, No Special Sauce - 64%

TheStormIRide, July 29th, 2013

“There is No Beauty Left Here…” is a compilation of tracks from New Zealand’s Exiled From Light, who released one full length before fading into obscurity. Exiled From Light was formed and solely performed by multi-instrumentalist Mort, who was also the sole member of a few other projects, all of which are on hold or disbanded (as of the time of this review). Mort released one full length album under the Exiled From Light moniker before shelving the project sometime after 2009, entitled “Descending Further Into Nothingness”, which received mixed reviews. “There is No Beauty Left Here…” is basically a collection of tracks not previously released on that debut full length.

This compilation is a rather exhausting listen, as each track is well over the ten minute mark, the shortest being the album’s opener, “We Writhe as Worms”, at 12:20. Every track follows a relatively standard song structure. Even though the tracks are long, they can be broken into a discernible pattern: gentle instrumentation including acoustic guitars and soft keyboard passages that slowly swell and build into relatively slow paced, almost doom inspired segments of black metal. Let’s put it this way, if you’ve ever listened to depressive black metal you should know what to expect: relatively melodic wandering songs which build into trem infused black metal which falls back into melodic wandering, complete with shrieking vocals and a relatively grainy production. While the vocals, typical shrieking type, aren’t much to write home about, the general song structure and weaving of elements is where Exiled From Light shine.

“We Write as Worms” starts the album of with an ethereal, dreamlike segment with minimalistic instrumentation that just swells and swells until cresting into slower paced trem infused black metal. The rest of the album ebbs and flows like the gentle lapping of some back country lake along the shoreline; black metal; melodic segue; black metal; melodic interlude; etc. The way that Mort weaves these elements together seamlessly is impressive, as it’s not jarring or disjointed in the least bit, but just comes across in waves. “Clarity Viewed Through Dying Eyes” shows this perfectly with the somber lead guitar line and melodic minor key patters slowly surge forward and eventually build into an atmospheric and cyclical trem line that would not sound out of place on Drudkh’s masterpiece “Autumn Aurora”. The guitar lines are simplistic, especially during the melodious sections, but are engaging enough at times to be interesting. Most of the album is backed by some type of atmospheric element, be it an airy keyboard line in the background or just the general fuzziness of the production, lending a somewhat dreamy feel. While some parts of the album are trance inducing, the entire album isn’t able to keep your mind locked off into that magical, faraway place.

The general enormity of this release and the gentle ebb and flow fail to keep me impressed for the entire run. There are some great ideas sprinkled throughout, but it just doesn’t have that special something to make it stand out more. I inherently find myself relegating this to background music. There are brief sojourns with catatonia, but they are all too often replaced by sections of mediocrity. Perhaps given another shot at life, Exiled From Light could conjure a darker dream with more lasting power. Regardless, diehard fans of depressive black metal should dig this: more polished than most in the genre but still lacking the secret sauce.

This release also features three songs from another one of Mort’s previous projects called Funereal. These tracks basically sound the same as the Exiled From Light songs only slightly heavier and with a grainier production. These songs are shorter and more to the point than the other tracks but aren’t really anything special.

Written for The Metal Observer:
http://www.metal-observer.com/