Sunday 6 May 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Chrch, "Light Will Consume Us"

By: Joosep Nilk

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/05/2018
Label: Neurot Recordings

CHRCH rightfully cement their own place as forebearers of a new era of melodic doom.

‘Light Will Consume Us All“ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1) Infinite Return                
2) Portals
3) Aether

The Review

Three years ago a fairly below the radar label put out a belter of a debut in the form of ’Unanswered Hymns’ from a then unknown Sacramento doom group. Said label (Battleground Records, from whom you might still grab the last remaining copies) is now sadly sunken but the prodigious 'debut', which called for many to exclaim  ’masterpiece!’, did attain enough attention to the quintet to warrant both a court-backed name alteration and many a tour with like-minded mainstays of the metal scene. Their latest release on the esteemed Neurot sees the-now-CHRCH cranking it further into the void, bringing payoffs indeed not unlike their label head legends themselves are known for. Entirely not surprising as this young group could be ascribed to having a common ethos, still the less astonishing is how equally hard they manage to crush.

Apropos it’s almost cliche to talk how well CHRCH operate in the worlds of the uplifting and downweighing, as it’s damn near their raison d’etre. Their previous offering that came in the form of mind-shattering split with the more mud-ridden sludgers Fister (who, as an aside are coming out with a similarly long-playing, albeit muckier statement right about as you read this) was demonstration enough of how well they wield both sides of the heavy spectrum, be it of the sonic or emotive variety.

The opener of their sophomore is reminiscient of ’Temples’ from said release, in that it equally plays with delicateness set against colossal discord. With its steadily soaring riffs ’Infinite Return’s’ towering stature in effect plummets your very being straight into the pits. There’s a deeper sense of worldweariness at play here, conveyed by the sheer fierceness of the vocals, with the wails blackened and stern despondency emanating from the growls. The band steadily sets to sculpt a storm of grandiose proportions that ultimately beckons forth creatures distantly echoing disquieting cries while the plucking undercurrent lays deceptively dormant in an uneasy sense of tranquility. The ominous guitar builds in the background unceasing as lead vocalist Eva Rose’s lulls during the quiet section become very akin to the timbres of fellow doom-sayers Subrosa. It’s difficult to imagine a tune crafted to carry more emotional heft as it plods on unrelenting, coming twice around for devastation to conclude in a soaring surge that elicits an immense sense of conciliation.

While the band has grown evermore well-equipped at crafting solemnity in sorrow, oncoming Portals is more of a morassy plummet into the void. With a discordant off-beat lead-in, the track becomes fluidly unfolding, bringing the pain in waves.The riffs steadily gathering velocity concordant with the increasing backdrop of the rhythm section as the middle blasts the gates of hell wide open straight to revelatory anguish. Even at this utmost dejected inpouring of fury, out of the mire comes a groove that dissolves any opressiveness built. Embellished by Rose’s vocal and then a back-and forth between her and second vocalist Chris Lemos comes a triumphant resolution affirmed by the grandness of riffs and etherealy sung harmonies.

The band then pick up the gauntlet of bringing the album together in glorious absolution with ’Aether’ as a steady resounding descent from the heavens. The admittedly-difficult-to-decipher lyrics seem to further evoke the band’s funerary sensibilities as the grievous bliss is brought to light at the tune’s apex. In striking manner the album is closed out in an outpouring of blackened tumult with what sounds like most whole of the band chiming in with voice.

Whilst their debut could perhaps at times have been faulted by borrowing from the sounds of established acts such as Windhand or Acid King, this tremendous sophomore is a beast all their own. They do still of course give fair play to tropes and tones of the genre but even-so CHRCH rightfully cement their own place as forebearers of a new era of melodic doom. Exhibiting dynamics and songwriting that pays as much heed to the glory of brandishing riffs aimed at celestial heights as it does to delivering penance through sheer abrasiveness ’Light Will Consume Us All“ comes as a mighty second assertion. With such ennobling means at hand it is seemly to await what aural transcendendance they might yet bring forth from the vastness of their realm.

’Light Will Consume Us All’ is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook