Centuries – The Lights of This Earth Are Blinding (Review)

CenturiesThis is the second album from US hardcore band Centuries.

This is dark hardcore, bolstered with metallic weight and delivered with furious energy and well-rounded creativity.

The heavy parts of the songs on this album combine elements of metal, hardcore, punk, sludge, and crust quite naturally, flipping from one to another, or merging them wholesale, as the desires of the band members dictate. Well-written and well-conceived, these tracks offer up a surprising amount of variety and inventive nastiness across the 38-minute playing time.

The singer’s jagged, shouted barks are as well-performed and delivered as the music is. Along with a pitch-black, massively heavy production, The Lights of this Earth Are Blinding has got the whole package.

The few seconds of silence before the start of the titular first track is like the calm before the storm. The first time you play this album you know something violent is about to happen, but you’re not sure what or when…then suddenly there’s a guitar riff, before the rest of the band kick in with so much heavy aggression it’s just wonderful to hear. There are a few unexpected moments like this on the album. After the resolute fury of the first song, for example, the second song, (Wooden Hands), opens with some clean, reflective guitar; this lasts a minute and a half before the band once more unleash the full weight of their aggressive assault.

Yes, I like their style.

In contrast to the previous two songs, Bygones, (track three), opens up with blistering blast beats. It’s enough to knock you over. Before you can even recover from that, the next track Soil is like a chainsaw to the guts.

A Bow Across a String is one of the longer songs on the album, with the band channelling a beefed-up punk spirit before descending into sludge territories, including a feedback-drenched slower paced middle section. The last minute of the track transforms into droning noise, before The Climb flattens you with its stalking, malevolent crawl.

The Endless Descent has somewhat of an old-school hardcore quality to it, which comes across in the singer’s voice as well as the music. It’s also as heavy as a bag of spanners, and develops a more atypical delivery for the last third of the track. A brief noise segment brings us to the next song, (May Love Be with You Always), which builds atmosphere well before erupting into a churning maelstrom of harsh riffs and rolling drums.

The album’s penultimate track is called Fury, which is deliberately misleading when compared to the furious content on the rest of this release. Roughly the first half is a lighter piece of music that’s powered by clean guitars and clean crooning. It has a sinister undercurrent, however, a background tension that lends the music a faint air of danger and unpleasantness. The juxtaposition between this ubiquitous sound and the clean guitar is well-judged; it could easily have not worked, but it does. The second half follows on from the first, only with added volume and distortion. Fury effectively showcases yet another side of the band, and they pull it off admirably.

Finally we arrive at the band’s longest song, the seven minute mini-epic Nul Orietur. It starts with a riff that Mastodon would be proud of, building dark atmosphere, before launching into an upbeat punk assault. Metallic riffs fly all over the place as the singer gives vent to whatever ails him. Nul Orietur is atmospheric and heavy, and is a great way to end a great album.

And that’s the crux of the matter really; this is, quite simply, a great album. I love this kind of heavy, violent music, especially when delivered with obvious talent and good ideas. I can’t get enough of it. Centuries fuel my addiction for this kind of music, and I can’t help but heartily recommend their very infectious brand of aural violence.

It’s only the start of the year, but I would be shocked if this wasn’t highly placed on my end of year list for 2018.


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