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Party music for the risen Undead - 95%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 6th, 2014

For a recording called "The Land of the Dead Sun", this EP sounds remarkably happy for the most part and, in its later tracks, positively celebratory. Well I won't quibble over the contrast between actual title and the music: it may well be that in DtL man Azgorh's world, white becomes black and black is white, good becomes evil and evil is good, and in realms where life has become extinct and all has become darkness, those beings that have had to hide from light for aeons innumerable, it's time to celebrate eternal darkness.

As with some other DtL works I've heard, the vocals are far back in the mix and drenched in reverb, and trying to figure out the lyrics is a feat best left to those living on a different plane of existence whose knowledge of the esoteric and the forbidden is far beyond human comprehension. Best to treat the shrieking wraith voices as a necessary element that adds malevolent fury to the music. The general style of music is abrasive all-out attack: there's hardly pause for breath save for short breaks between tracks and while the music might slow down, that's only to highlight the short lead guitar melody breaks. The rhythm section is a robust grinding beast ably supporting the guitars and vocals, and boasts some of the most pop-friendly rifferama I've ever heard from a black metal act on the wrong side of commercialism.

"Yearning under the Winter Moon" sets the tone for this mini-album: there's a strong sense of urgency in the melody and accompanying rhythm, reinforced by a swarm of screechy, shouty voices. The music is raw punk-ish guitar scrabble and aggressive percussion bash. "Our Lands Stained in Blood" is a bit more relaxed in parts and infectious dance grooves are present here and there. The tension increases with "The Strigoi Rises ...", a punchy track that combines a complex mix of rhythms, guitar work that follows the rhythms closely and shrieking vocals at a hurried pace. "North & South Unite" has a joyful mood, as if the Undead that rose in the last track are rejoicing at having inherited an eternally dark and lifeless Earth from its former unworthy rulers. The pace is more relaxed and the singing less screechy in parts.

In all songs, the most outstanding elements are the rhythms and the very busy drumming but the guitar work is not far behind in delivering an infectiously likeable recording. This is the one Drowning The Light recording that I'd recommend to people who have never heard the band's work before or who want to introduce their friends to it. The music has tremendous controlled energy and all songs are distinguished by very catchy melodies, riffs and rhythms. For all its attractive pop tendencies, the EP is still a dark work with moments of fear and foreboding. There's room for even more darkness and ambiguity in the EP which would probably make it better still but most listeners will be happy with the EP as it is.