Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Light Bearer - "Lapsus" (2011) [Halo of Flies/Moment of Collapse/Alerta Antifascista]

Light Bearer's been getting a bit of a bum rap and, when I first listened to their first album Lapsus a few months ago, I, too, found myself among those who were left disappointed by the album. Looking back, it's clear that Light Bearer suffers from people immediately comparing the band to vocalist Alex's former project, the widely popular Fall of Efrafa and, while still grief-stricken with the loss of Fall of Efrafa, it would appear that I got caught up in asking "Well, why doesn't this band sound like Fall of Efrafa." Here I am four months later, coming to the realization that they don't have to sound like the vocalist's former band. It makes me feel sort of stupid that I've come to such a simple, obvious conclusion so late in the game. I mean, aside from the lyrical, vocal, and conceptual direction of Fall of Efrafa, one must remember that he didn't write the music behind his voice, so the insane expectations set for him, aside from the fact that he is the bearer of a fantastic voice, is almost entirely unfounded. Light Bearer is an entirely new entity, a new band with a new stylistic approach, and when I accepted that and sat down with this album, it is safe to say I was more than pleased with the outcome.

Light Bearer's debut full-length, the gorgeous Lapsus, is a strong beacon of light in the post-ISIS atmospheric sludge scene. Focusing on a Milton-esque story of Lucifer's casting from heaven, we see Light Bearer taking an ethereal, post-rocky approach, contrasting against thick, heavy doom. Throughout Lapsus, one will hear striking, almost bright melodies slowly build into some of the most hair-raising, brilliant climaxes. Everything is shining, anthemic, brilliant; it is hard to believe that such a powerful album can exist while still being under an hour's length. Alex's voice, whose bellowing roar is as powerful as ever, is taken to new heights, incorporating memorable clean singing and even lower, animal-like growls. Light Bearer's powerful, almost heavenly doom metal has set the bar very high for future releases, yet I can definitely see them moving forward with the grace and elegance found within the music of Lapsus.

Even with all my praise, I can't say Lapsus is a perfect album. As spine-tingling as it is, at times I find it almost a little too...predictable, like their post-rock passages had been taken directly from the Explosions in the Sky handbook. With the distance post-rock has covered, it is a little disappointing to find bands still gripping onto what is now known as the "standard" or blank slate of the genre. While I do enjoy how they've utilized post-rock stylistically, I hope that in the future Light Bearer will perhaps move away from the "standard" and into uncharted territory.

For those of you who are unaware, Lapsus is the first of four chapters in vocalist Alex's conceptual take on Milton's Paradise Lost, which will be continued with the forthcoming albums Silver Tongue, Magisterium, and the closing Lattermost Sword. While Light Bearer is certainly different from Alex's previous efforts as the vocalist in Fall of Efrafa, Lapsus has definitely been a powerful, engaging listen and has definitely broken my sense of expectation. Be sure to order one of the remaining copies, a gorgeously packaged gatefold double vinyl, from Halo of Flies.


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