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Already a minor classic depressive/suicidal black metal album, Brazilian Thy Light’s 2007 Suici.De.pression, their only album so far, finally saw a re-release last year, by the hand of Pest Productions. Paolo Bruno’s the musician handling all instruments and vocals, aided by New Yorker Alex Witchfinder, who provides lyrics to this tortuous descent into utmost despair. I’m not much of an expert in the depressive/suicidal scene, having listened to just a few high profile acts of said style, such as Sweden’s Shining and Lifelover but this project really sounds interesting to my ears. I find it actually curious that this sad and tortured work of music was spawned in sunny Brazil, but truth is depression and sorrow are found in any corner of the world, and Latin America’s not an exception.
It all starts with one of the greatest piano introductions I’ve heard from a metal act ever, the title track “Suici.De.pression (Introduction to My End)”. A truly moving and emotional piece composed exclusively of tasty background synth and terrific piano playing by Bruno, it falsely leaves the listener pondering there might be some bright light at the end of the tunnel, when in fact, it will only get much darker, as “In My Last Mourning…” snuffs out all chances of salvation. After three minutes of calm and harmless build up, this track explodes with mildly distorted guitars and truly distressing, woeful screams that steal the show. Like most tracks of this release, there would be a few twists and turns throughout its entirety, the riff set not overtly varied. Luckily, there would also be some nice surprises. I won’t spoil that for you, but let’s just say that there’s an element in this song not often found in black metal, unexpected and, most importantly, compelling.
Third track, “A Crawling Worm in World of Lies” (damn, what a title!), is probably my favorite one. It has a marginally more dynamic, glorious approach than the previous song but it’s also a dying chant. Additionally, is more to the point, unlike the last couple of tacks, which I feel are a bit overstretched since together they comprise more than the second half of the album. Thankfully, they carry on with almost the same level of excellence the first half displayed. “I am the Bitter Taste of Gall” has a tasteful melodic motif that keeps repeating, and we only get a brief respite for about a minute and a half in which solemn synths take over. The vocals are again the true highlight of the song, expressing utter agony. And while the music is truly moving, it doesn’t justify its ten minutes and fraction of duration. It doesn’t have any unexpected moves as “In My Last Mourning…” and sometimes I lose interest while listening to this track.
Closer “…And I Finally Reach My End” is a synth-driven thirteen-minute instrumental that also boasts amazing horrid screaming by Bruno which reminds me of Lacrimosa’s Tilo Wolff at his most desperate. But I think this tune could have been shortened as well, by more than four minutes on my account, as the final part unnecessary bounces back and forth between intense and calm moments, instead of gradually going from the former to the later. It’s like Bruno wanted to keep the listener thinking “Is he finally dead? No, not yet… Now, he’s finally dead! Oh, no, not yet… How about now? Wait… no, not yet!” And I mean no disrespect to Everaldo Dolensi Junior, to whom the album is dedicated, but truth is, emotional impact is downgraded with those fluctuations. At least they didn’t work for me, leaving the finale of the record a bit wanting.
Nonetheless, if this is not among the best depressive black metal albums out there, then I think that’s a genre worth exploring. It focuses more on atmosphere and emotion, and that might attract a lot of metal brothers and sisters who search for those qualities in their metal shake. But it’s definitely not stuff to play at someone’s birthday party, quite the opposite. So be sure to be in the mood for this tour de mort.
This album starts off with one of the most beautiful pieces of piano music that I have ever heard. Not only is it a beautiful piece of music, but it actually strikes at the strings of your heart, plucking them with the dark fingers of melancholy. The overall combination of keys in this piece is very well constructed and this track alone constructs an aesthetic philosophy in its own right.
The first track melts into the second track which has a very progressive kind of approach. The music also starts very slowly and the guitar riffs are relaxing, yet uncanny. It is like the silence before a great thunderstorm. The artist also brings in a sample filled with something that sounds like a mixture between white noise and a strong wind blowing.
Overall, the vocals on this album are very much distorted and almost sound like a stranger standing somewhere in the darkest corner of a big room, screaming out at the tyranny of life. The way in which the vocals fit in with the orchestral music and guitar is brilliant. The time signatures of the music and the vocals go together perfectly without falling down into tiring technical detail. Thus, this album is technically very well constructed, but not in such a way that the technicality smothers the spontaneity of the artist.
The combination of faster and slower pieces is very well done. An analogy is implemented here in the sense that the faster pieces seek to highlight the slower pieces and vice-versa. The guitar solos conjure up a feeling of sadness and melancholy, which fits in very well with the orchestral pieces that are constantly present. Tracks like “In My Last Mourning...” and “Crawling Worm in a World of Lies” sound pretty much the same, but not in a bad way. They actually contain very neat orchestral pieces in contrast with “I Am the Bitter Taste of Gall”, which is much rawer and aggressive. It is as if the aesthetic concepts of this album enhance the light and the dark sides of the spirit of melancholy. “I Am the Bitter Taste of Gall” is definitely the darker side filled with a general feeling of rejection, despair, and frustration. The vocalist screams out at the bitterness of life and implements that bitterness into his subjective individuality.
The album ends with a very meditative piece filled with the calm sounds of water streams, but this calmness is soon blown to pieces by haunting screams, sounds of thunder, distorted guitars, and blasting drums. The very end is very disturbing – you can actually hear the sounds of someone choking. It sounds like someone who has hanged him or herself. This brutal way in which the album ends actually conjures up a philosophical question concerning the existential angst of the individual, something like “now I have reached my end...what now?”. This leads to other great philosophical questions like life after death, the general existential question of suicide, and the ontological question.
If you like depressive black metal, this album is really worth the money.
Black metal has these little unofficial "subgenres" that pop up every now and then such as atmospheric black metal, melodic black metal and (my favorite) depressive black metal; also known as DSBM which is abriviation for "depressive/suicidal black metal". However, I don't really prefer refering to the genre "suicidal black metal" as that sounds a little farfetched nor even makes much sense. What is "suicidal black metal" music anyway? Music that tends to kill itself? Anyway the genre over the past couple years now has been blown up underground and possibly the biggest and most recognized artists of depresive black metal (if not just metal as a whole due to their sucess) would most likely reign down to Xasthur, Trist and Silencer. However, Thy Light tends to do things differently than any of these artists and in some cases; much better.
Suici.De.pression is so far the only official release by Thy Light and is just a demo, but by goodness it really is a treat. The man behind the name is none other than Brazilian metal musician Paolo Bruno whom plays guitar in the death metal band Desdominus. Let me just say that while he has a mind for different types of metal, he sure had an amazing and spot on aspect for this type of music as well. Almost everything about this release is how it should be within the realm of depressive black metal. The lyrics dealing of pain, negativity and all loss of a better future, screamed vocals of agony, chilling emotional musicianship that grabs you by the throat and just the right amount of electronics thrown in as well.
The first real song on this record, "In My Last Mourning…" is pretty much the best out of this whole release. It begins with some light strums before some beautiful light and mood-filling guitar harmony comes in and then finally takes it full force. Bruno's screamed vocals are not only good under just the black metal genre but also for the sense of depression and sorrow this music gives off while in the midst of listening. Drumming seems to be programmed, which isn't too much of a surprise since this is only one guy, but it comes in clear and well and even though double bass kicks isn't exactly a black metal thing (never really was to be honest) he pulls it off well and suits the music before even putting a guitar solo in this track as well. You'll be blown away at probably the best DSBM song you'll ever hear.
The following song "A Crawling Worm in a World of Lies" caries a not-as-structured formula but still has that raw emotion and intense feelings negativity piled throughout as does the rest of the demo. But the song after this, however, "I Am the Bitter Taste of Gall" seems to overdue to the keyboards, even going on far too long with the programmed organ at the end of the track. The final song however, "…And I Finally Reach My End" is definitely the strangest on the entire record. This song contains no lyrics and according to the enclosed album booklet it comfirms that it is lyric-less and instead has "just screams of pain and hate", which almost brings you to chills just from reading that line alone. The "screaming" in the song however doesn't even sound so much as to what it does previously on the record, if anything it sounds more like a howl of despair (think the vocals of Silencer, just much less annoying).
Thy Light truly represents what music should be and ride right along the boundaries of the emotion and personal aspect it should carry. If Bruno does have a second release as Thy Light in the future, I will certainly not hesistate just to return once more to his style within this inspirational genre of music.
Depressive Suicidal Black Metal is a very interesting genre, it makes the opposing extreme metal styles raw black metal and funeral doom sound like they were meant to be. Thy Light had the touch of adding symphonic elements to this depressive formula, making the sadness passed by the music sound like some erudite corrosion, a slow and gradual decadence of a man who, despite his suffering, sees beauty in things.
One can't listen to this demo without being dragged to solitude by the music. As soon as it starts to play, you feel like falling deep into the pit this album seems to create under your feet.
The opening song, Suici.De.Pression, illustrates the fall of a man with a deep and depressive arrangement of keyboards that gets louder, more complex and with more lines as the song goes, making one feel thrilled. By the end, it starts getting simpler and closes with something like 15 seconds of silence.
The silence continues through the very beginning of the following song, In My Last Mourning, till keyboards enter calmly and it gradually evolves into the guitars, summed up by gloomy lyrics about a man in the momentum of suicide, till it breaks to A Crawling Worm in a World of Lies, to me the heaviest and most depressive song of the demo. It's nothing more than an ode to the insignificance, with heavily distorted guitars playing repetitive and cold riffs.
A Bitter Taste of Gall is another great song, with very well-arranged keyboards and a miserable atmosphere, creating such a bitterness that lives up to the title. It would've been perfect, were the drums more befitting to the song. This song would later be covered greatly by the German band Lebenswinter, showing off Thy Light's influence on underground black metal.
"...And I Finally Reach My End" is the deepest melody of this album, deep enough to pass its message of despair with no lyrics (just screams). It starts with the simplistic sound of running water, and ends with a golfing sound, simulating the end of life by hanging, along with the end of the album.
It's highly doubtful that anything else is released under the name Thy Light, so that the heritage of their depression is left behind through this magnificent tape.
Thy Light is (currently?) labelled at their Metal Archives page as a depressive black metal band. This is correct... they fit into this category, use certain elements in their music and create an atmosphere one would expect when it comes to a band from this genre. Accordingly the question on the quality of the actual performance arouses. Is it good? Is it bad? To answer these is not an easy task, because there is some potential offered on the first demo by the Brazilian band; but the art suffers from teething troubles and this need to be explained.
Thy Light rely heavily on keyboards when it comes to their music. They are all over the songs and their play is basically dominating the music; not to mention that it is up to them to create the atmosphere, while the other instruments as well as the vocals rather support them, while avoiding a leading role themselves. Further, the question can be raised if the motives by keyboards influenced the guitars or vice versa; it happens that both instruments play the same melody at the same time.
The emphasis lies on creating a calm and depressive atmosphere, which the band is able to create with the help of the guitars and the keyboards. Unlike a lot of bands from the depressive black metal subgenre the compositions are not excessively minimalist, but offer a certain amount of riffs and motives, provide the listener with some sort of a red line. These are good to listen to and well crafted.
One negative aspect is the drums or better said the drum-machine ... again. The programming as well as the mix is not optimal when it comes to this 'instrument'; but these are quite common flaws that might be expected, some might bring forth as an argument in defence of the band. Even though this point does certainly bear some truth in it, what good would come of neglecting it in the discussion as well as in the rating? Again are the 'drums' just plain and boring and have no positive effect on how the art is perceived at all. Their monotonous play creates only one thing: to let the listener fall asleep.
Further negative aspects of this demo are the vocals. Distortion can go along fine with the compositions, it can help to promote the atmosphere, but this is rather the exception and in case the band has overdone it in terms of this effect, the outcome is counter-productive on how the art is perceived. Such is the case here. Uninspiring, very monotonous, little variation in tempo and style is offered by Paolo Bruno; the person behind Thy Light; together with the drums an unholy unity of boredom is created; one reason why a band often tend to fail when it comers to this genre. As everything is occasionally drowning in a swamp of monotony, little is there to compensate this flaw.
Final bits and bytes
The story how I got the release or better said how I got the release in a listenable quality is longer than some might expect and some amount of energy was spent on it; not so much in terms of money. Has it been worth it? Not entirely, because by listening to the music, some kind of bitter taste remains and it never leaves entirely. Even though the band had been able to write some nice compositions with neat motives and arrangements, the drums and vocals ruin it. So, my advices would be: get a drummer and get rid of the distortion of the vocals. Further would it certainly not harm the music if some effort would be spent on the mix and production, because it is not entirely convincing; there are some variations in the dominance of the instruments and those sound odd. Better and worse releases have seen the light of day... judging from the ratings this release has got, on the Metal Archives and elsewhere, the music seems to appeal strongly to some folks; presumably deaf ones.
Recommended to: fans of depressive black metal, whose single goal in life is to praise the art of every band from this genre that hits the earth.
(Note: this review was written on a master-CD of the release which I own; ripped to 320 kbps MP3s. Long story how I got it.)
Remove society from this world. Remove every idea, thought, dream, and hope and retain a world left untouched. Replace the sun with utter darkness, replace sound with silence and emotion with apathy. Now take this unscathed world and place upon it Paulo, a damp, cold basement, several instruments, and utter solitude. This is exactly the type of atmosphere Thy Lights second demo evokes on us. Utter solitude. This album takes us to the deepest parts of our minds we never thought existed, to doors never noticed, rooms never lit.
This demo is one of the few that I own that can create such an atmosphere that I honestly need human interaction afterwards just to know I'm alive. The beginning of the demo opens with a beautiful piano passage, a bloodstained door opening inwards revealing a downward spiral of stairs. The sound of boards creaking and trembling as you begin your descent, the unknown darkness entwines itself around you, grasping and clawing at your body as it drags you inwards. Sorrow engulfs your mind, your thoughts clouded by endless dreams of desperation and pain. The piano introduction sets the mood, like a perfect movie trailer it foreshadows what lies ahead instead of presenting the forthcoming material. Like the calming of ashes after a midnight blaze, the fuzzy reverberation echoes in the darkness as the introduction comes to a close. A trepidation of senses, an exorcism of aesthetic qualities, the deprivation of hope and meaning. The second song is magnificently spell bounding and probably the best song of the demo. A mournful atmosphere only attained through death, a recording of such despair and hopelessness, I cannot understand how this man is still alive. He perfectly conveys his elegy, his cycle of life, the futility of dreams and ineffectiveness of human progression.
Instrumentally, the album is quite simplistic. Drums are nothing worth noting, simple beats repeated throughout never once overbearing the song or playing too subtle. The guitar tone is perfect, cold and bleak, melancholic and mournful. The melodies are beautiful, the solos are haunting and prodigious, and the overwhelming emotion strummed into each note is breathtaking. The vocals are in a world of their own. Harrowing shrieks of desperation and grief shaking the very facade you cower behind, your mourning walls collapse. They are honestly the single greatest part of this demo, absolutely devastating in every aspect. His hatred and solitude being channeled through his voice into the very depths of your soul, wrapping itself around your heart and thrusting itself inside. They sound human, not superficial or blatantly altered in anyway. The production is what you'd expect from an underground black metal artist, but not horrible by any means. The fuzzy feedback adds to the atmosphere of desolation, as clean production would absolutely destroy it.
A despondent aggregation of isolation and reclusiveness, this demo is beyond words. It is more than a simple black metal release spawned by children with face paint and black clothes. It is the story of solitude, the effects of loneliness, and the garnered respect for the minuscule moments of our lives you attain. When presented with something so dead and cold, you can only look upon yourself and your environment differently, relishing in what little you have in your fleeting aggregation of moments. This is the demo for those moments. This is the demo where you realize what life is truly compromised of. Go on, open the door.
People who think black metal is only something for Europe, are proven wrong if you ask me, and this band convinces my opinion. Thy Light brings a great fusion between symphonic and suicidal black metal. Here you can read my thoughts...
The album starts with a nice classical piano piece, witch gives an immediately dark, depressive atmosphere. This kind of style, goes on for the rest of the album. With nice, long, songs, this album makes it worth to be in my collection.
If we listen the demo a second time more carefully, we see that the guitars are really good tuned, and that it fits good to the vocals. The drums are kind of boring to listen to, and really easy to play. That is (as a drummer) is really disappointing me. For the further rest, there are always some thing that can be done better, just for example, the violins at the end of some numbers, don’t have to be so long. You can definitely hear that part was made by the computers, and if you make it then so long, it is really going to suck. If you should use real violins next time, I would be sure it’d sound better, but for this demo it’s OK.
My final conclusion is, that this demo is a really good start by Thy Light. As always it isn’t perfect, but they make a really good start. There are much thing that they have to improve for the next time, but for now, it’s a really good one, and I’m proud to have a copy of this Demo.