This is black metal that embraces classic, thrash and progressive metal in its search for a perfect form of artistic expression.
The music is unusual and unexpected, galloping along with an epic grandeur born of theatrical drama, while also demonstrating a rough, earthy metal side that wars with the more ostentatious aspects of the songs.
This reminds me of some form of cross between Ebony Lake, Mercyful fate and Arcturus. A sort of avant-garde, blackened classic metal hybrid that conforms to all of these various labels and none.
The singer has to be a pretty talented guy to keep up with the tumultuous material, and thankfully he is just that. With a powerful singing voice and a good shouting/screaming one too, his performance is just as varied and experimental as the music. He’s also the source of a lot of the more dramatic aspects of the songs, with grand, sweeping vocals that are imbued with character and authority.
In some ways this is very much an experimental and exploratory release, as if the band have taken classic metal and delight in twisting it to fit their unholy vision. Elements of black metal are poured liberally over the band’s warped creations, resulting in songs that take inspiration from many sources and are as varied as you might expect given this.
The album culminates in an ambient mood piece that’s at stark odds with the rest of the album. It’s menacing and tense in tone, and works to end the release with a sinister and unsettling feeling.
Although this certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, if you like being challenged a bit by your music and aren’t afraid to venture outside of the standard and the conventional, then A Subtler Kind of Light has a lot of dark avenues and passageways for you to explore.