Artist: Absent Light
Album: Life Divine
A person’s journey through life is a metamorphosis. We start as larvae, dependent on a distinct set of conditions, people and provision to thrive. Without it, our chances to persevere are slim (to be generous). However, given the chance, we slowly develop a wrought-iron shell, capable of suffering the slings and arrows cast by life. We endure within it throughout our most perilous years to, eventually, emerge—something that, if not beautiful, is at least complete.
Absent Light capture this sense of growth, brilliance and blossom throughout their debut full-length record, Life Divine. Combining elements of melodic hardcore with a firm backbone of groovy metalcore, the outfit use everything in their disposal to hammer the listener with bold breakdowns and breathtaking displays of melody and atmosphere to capture gutbusting lows and jaw-dropping highs, all within a fast-paced and fun frame of aggressive and intense music.
Absent Light—formerly known as Revelations—combine elements of quick, punchy hardcore with groovy metalcore to create a sound that doesn’t “cleanly” fit within the realms of either melodic hardcore or metalcore alone. With energetic and frantic drumming that slows down only for the album’s instrumental interlude, Absent Light’s foundation is churning and energetic right from the true start of “Embryo.” Weaving together a dense layer of groovy bass with the band’s percussion beating out pummeling breakdowns and frenzied salvos of straightforward but powerful patterns, Life Divine carries on in this fashion, beating onward like a heart that refuses to stop. Songs like “Transcend” and “Who You Seek” continue this trend, setting a baseline of raw energy that some songs—“Desire” for one—fall below, and others (“Vicious Cycle”) soar above. Where Absent Light prove most difficult to categorize into a single genre is with their fretwork, however; as the band have sharp metallic leads during parts of “Embryo” and “Thrilled for the Shot,” but, just as readily include atmospheric and melodic undertones that lend a vibe almost akin to acts like Counterparts. Many tracks on Life Divine have breakdowns that wouldn’t feel out of place on a contemporary heavier-end-of-metalcore release and other, more fast-paced and driving segments that space out the metallic clash and edge that some tracks—like “Hourglass”—proudly boast.
Vocally, Absent Light don’t necessarily break new ground where the juncture of metalcore and melodic hardcore is concerned, but what they do, they do exceptionally well. Light Divine oscillates between lyrics bolstered with positivity and energy (especially where the back-half of the album is concerned) and brooding, introspective and contemplative lyrics that are almost sullen (without being depressive) in nature. “Vicious Cycle” is an impressive example of lyrical excellence and a strong vocal performance, just as many of the cuts from Life Divine are. While no song sees the vocal element really dropping the listener’s jaw, and only a few cuts really break into the level of emotional intensity that warrant binge-listening again and again, much of the album lives in a happy medium where any fan of heavy music can find something to get lost in. The release’s positive vibes are a welcome change from a scene mottled with depression, and the reliable, sturdy mid-range yell and crooned cleans feel almost “classical” in their heavy-soft dynamic—so, they might not be truly “stand out,” but that doesn’t stop them from being strong.
Absent Light’s first release under their new moniker shows a refreshing rejuvenation of the band and a great source of fresh blood where heavy music’s more moderate side is concerned. Appealing to fans of Hundredth’s early catalogue, Counterparts, Like Moths to Flames and more, the band balance aggression and atmosphere with a passionate twist, making Life Divine a prominent release in 2018’s heavier-than-normal fare.
For Fans Of: Counterparts, Hundredth, Argus, Like Moths to Flames
By: Connor Welsh