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Compulsive Dissonance - 71%

reconcile, March 12th, 2009

Melody is a succession of rhythms, often evoking harmonic delight or euphorical empathy, inciting affection and indiscrete emotion. It's a stringent adherence that clings to a particular track like bark on a tree. It wraps itself around the base, thrusts itself upwards and dances around the branches in glee. The tree is embraced by it, withstanding nature and its rather unprecedented array of uncertainties. Music is comprised of countless fragments of melodies, countless arrays of structures and thoughts and instruments, all resulting in audible dissonance. No matter how you view it, music is simply fragmented and recursive. The Narrow Path is, in essence, musically unresolved.

The Narrow Path is the first full length album by Licht Erlischt, a rather obscure black metal band from Norway. After a relatively above average demo and several spurts of wordless disappearances, the album was finally released into the crowd. Much like the demo, The Narrow Path is a melodic overture, gagged and bound in a trunk of lonely and forgotten scales and notes. Instruments without musicians, keys without fingers, a track without the compassion or touch of an artist. The album is completely bound to these melodies, dependent on each and every one to progress the track in directions it would've otherwise completely missed. Now, I love melodies more than anyone. They're quite possibly the most emotive pieces of work that a human being is capable of creating, and rivaled only by visual stimulus. But when an artist centers his structure and form based upon a melodic arrangement of chords, there are certain directions that simply do not work. The Narrow Path epitomizes this direction, taking a melody and wrapping it into a philosophical metamorphosis, shifting and twisting as it inevitably progresses forward. It seems he simply doesn't understand the fact that songs end, that songs are much like our lives. We fade in and fade out, most of our time spent dead or unborn. Within these fleeting moments we're given, we must accomplish all we desire. Not all we're told to, not all we're supposed to, but all we desire to. Radiance, for example, is one of the weaker tracks on the album. Indeed the melody is quite good, but the song simply lacks direction. It builds, it builds, and eventually ends, ends its dismal existence with nothing more than a putter, a tear, and a final melody.

The Narrow Path is far from amateur, and the songs in their entirety are far from weak or vague. Melody, as previously noted, is layered throughout the album. It simply gushes with melancholy. The tracks are long and slow, but the melodies are sweeping and despondent. Nerrath's vocals are Burzum-esque, but not quite as raspy and a bit higher. Rather uninspired, they lack the somber emotion of the rest of the album. In The Offshore Oaks, he even includes clean vocals, and they fit the track perfectly. Mood and atmosphere play an important role for the album, and the melodies just continue to pour down. With more of a structured tone and a bit more thought, this could've been an outstanding release. The Vaultventurer, for example, boasts a very melancholic melody, and Await The Overarching Blow begins amazingly subversive. They both, however, fall into the same stale fragmentation, a lack of direction.

Licht Erlischt's The Narrow Path is far from a terrible album, it's simply lacking in direction. The melodies are mournful, treacherous crawls through rain-drenched streets and coves. They're the philosophical anecdotes of mankind, of existence and time. They tread beaten paths of disappointment and success, unknowingly recreating existence and error. Deceit, sorrow, suffering; all fragments of melody. Composition is the glue that binds these emotive works of being together, entwines the listener into the world they've created. Without them, music is senseless drivel, a scapegoat for existence. A moniker for melodic suicide. A distant, melancholic melody that breathes in the distance, captured and coveted and strung up. Vastness embraces it, reconstructs it, and rewinds it. Why piece together the fragments of melody - beauty, sorrow, despair; the stagnated bits and pieces you never bothered to notice?