Light Bearer

Silver Tongue

Written by: AP on 22/08/2013 15:18:38

Light Bearer are a post-rock six-piece based out of London, UK, who distinguish themselves with a strict adherence to DIY ethics, not to mention with a conceptual basis for their music that few others can match. Given their underground status, they're likely to be the best post-metal band you've never heard of, and here's why:

Wind effects, a string section, horns and a funereal drum set the scene in cinematic fashion during the first 5 minutes of "Beautiful is This Burden", bringing to mind the opening section of Wagner's "Rheingold" opera, or the beginning of a Terrence Malick movie. It's an appropriate grand introduction to what is thematically a very similar album to the work of Robin Staps with The Ocean: "Silver Tongue", like its predecessor "Lapsus" (2011), is based around the "Æsahættr Tetralogy" narrative written by Light Bearer's vocalist Alex CF, which is a violently anti-theist allegorical tale attempting to deconstruct monotheistic mythology and assault religion to promote progressive thought, as well as cultural, sexual and racial liberty. Think you need a lyric booklet to fully appreciate the album? You're absolutely right.

With the conceptual basis of "Silver Tongue" allegedly influenced by Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, John Milton's "Paradise Lost", as well as the biblical "Book of Genesis", the album is both heavy and thought-provoking, and so demands an equally ambitious musical backdrop - one, which the aforementioned "Beautiful is This Burden" certainly provides, and it is quite possibly the best post-metal track released this year. The composition of this 18-minute behemoth is sublime, its operatic introduction laying the foundation for that typical galloping Bam-bam-bam-babam. Bam-bam-bam-babam. rhythm so familiar to fans of the genre thundering beneath soaring, layered melodies that, even in the guitar department, sound like the work of a full orchestra. Structurally the song is rather traditional, with its stereotypical lull midway and the constant escalation that eventually bursts into a roaring crescendo concluding the piece. But the style, depth and texture of the instrumentation is everything but ordinary, as Light Bearer readily and skillfully incorporate acoustic instruments such as a cello and trumpet to an already ethereal soundscape. It's paradoxically uplifting given the weight of the subject matter; the sort of music designed to soundtrack dreams and to deliver the listener to a cathartic epiphany. Absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately the grandeur of such a chilling opener does few favours to the following "Amalgam" and "Matriarch". The first is a crushing, Cult of Luna style amalgam (oh yes, I had to...) of crushing dirge and post-metal vastness; the second a calmer, predominantly clean post-rock type piece complete with a violin. Sounding somewhat like Rinoa mingling with our homegrown post-rock scene of The Day We Left Earth, The Shaking Sensations et al., neither can quite parallel the enormity of the opening track's soundscape, nor the breathless state in which it leaves the listener, though this should not suggest they're unworthy of appreciation in their own right. Together with the eerie, cavernous ambiance and Alex CF's humming and chanting on "Clarus", these three tracks form a kind of mid-album vacuum that perhaps could have been left out of the near 80-minute runtime for a stronger and more persistent impact, as it's not until the near 40-minute closing duo "Aggressor & Usurper" and "Silver Tongue" that the otherworldly feeling is restored. The former features a stark contrast between a sullen piano and cello driven interlude and a sudden hurricane of intense noise backed by that same Bam-babam-bam-babam. Bam-babam-bam-babam. rhythm around the 7-minute mark that sounds downright unreal; before foreboding synth-backed chugging and monumental powerchords finish off what is without a doubt the heaviest song on offer here, bringing to mind The Ocean instrumentally as well as conceptually.

The contrast is even more pronounced when "Silver Tongue" rolls in with a clean introduction that might as well be ripped from some sugary pop-rock tune, then gradually transforms into the most uplifting discharge of positive energy, much in the vein of Rinoa's "Past Maidens", and finally flowers into something best described as a grand revelation - or, as Billy (played by Sam Rockwell) puts it in the movie "Seven Psychopaths", an emotional final shoot-out between heroes and villains. It's these 55-or-so minutes that comprise "Beautiful is This Burden", "Aggressor & Usurper" and the title track (and to some extent also the 11 minutes that "Amalgam" occupies) that cement "Silver Tongue" as one of the quintessential post-metal albums of 2013. It's eloquent and thoughtful in its reflections; enormous, beautiful and evocative in its delivery; a genuine work of art.

Download: Beautiful is This Burden, Aggressor & Usurper, Silver Tongue
For the fans of: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Isis, The Ocean, Rinoa
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Release date 26.04.2013
Halo of Flies / Alerta Antifascista / Moment of Collapse

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