Drugs are often thought to be the only thing in the world that can open the windows of your mind, but screw that sentiment. Dropping acid might have you mistake the neighbour’s cat for Quetzacoatl, but ‘In Swathes of Brooding Light’ tears all of your senses away from you, leaving you to sink or swim in a world full of creepy little musical demons that want to violate the very way you listen to music.
Ebonylake are a demented duo consisting of two guys who go by the names Ophelius and Mass. Together, they weave one hell of a twisted world, filled to the brim with chaotic orchestral sounds, dissonant guitar riffing and drums that never let up, helping perpetuate this cacophony. It’s been 12 years since the band has released their previous album, and there have been quite a few lineup changes during the band’s lifetime. With that said, it’s quite amazing that two guys can put together an album that sounds quite as full as this. From the very start, you’re thrown straight into blast beats, a series of percussive layers, a brass and string section that wail along to the guitars, and riffs akin to something from a Deathspell Omega album, hell, and all this is covered in the space of the first fifty seconds of opening track, ‘And From the Seas, the Sickening Things’.
I’m not usually one to listen to avant-garde metal because some bands clearly express that they have all of these strange ideas running in their head, but they can’t quite get it all down musically, ending up with what sounds like an unfinished mess. ‘In Swathes of Brooding Light’ never feels like that, and everything has been put together in such a way that you have to wonder “How the hell did people come up with this?”. It’s extremely technical without ever being distasteful and wanky. There’s never a slow moment on this album, and every track has a purpose. Amidst all of the agony and pandemonium that’s conveyed musically, you realize that there’s something quite beautiful about all of this. I still can’t quite put my finger on what the beauty is, but it’s there, and it’ll make you smile as you listen.
Man, no witch could stir a concoction in her cauldron that can match the craziness of this album. Ebonylake have really outdone themselves with this release, adding yet another great album to the year 2011.