Review Summary: Two fantastic bookends can't possibly make up for 40 minutes of filler.
Light Bearer has built up quite the loyal fanbase in the last few years, and I can’t wrap my head around it. After all, it seems the post-metal group prides itself on being inaccessible: 80-minute full-lengths add up to an overwhelming listen. I decided to give the band’s latest release a spin, just to see if Light Bearer still sprawls itself too thin. And just like Lapsus
, the group’s debut, Silver Tongue
putters out of fuel merely minutes after truly making an impact.
It’s imperative to note the structural similarities between Lapsus
and Silver Tongue
. For starters, both albums start off on the highest of notes. “Primum Movens” succeeded so thoroughly as Lapsus
’ opener (the true opener, anyways) because it focused on melody to juxtapose with the dark riffs at hand. This is precisely what “Beautiful Is This Burden” accomplishes as Silver Tongue
's opener, leaning on post-rock influences to add a more human element to the otherwise desolate soundscape. And this is where my frustration sets in, because I know this style would make Light Bearer a much more memorable unit. The moments of beauty exist merely as transitions, when they could be much more.
The band really does feel most comfortable in these beginning moments, when it’s scrambling to make a strong first impression. If second impressions exist, though, they certainly don't matter to Light Bearer, because Silver Tongue
’s second track "Amalgam” is comprised of too much, well, everything. The opening track's aggression has been replaced by unbridled apathy, eleven entire minutes of it too. The overall drowsiness of the album continues until the concluding track, and it’s a damned shame “Silver Tongues” is placed at the album’s end. One would expect the track to continue in its predecessors’ direction, but the self-titled song is actually a shining moment for the group. With memorable melodies, a certifiable sense of direction and unique instrumentation, why is the song placed at the very end of this journey? How many listeners, exactly, will give the album even a single listen all the way through, when there are 40 minutes of what could easily be considered filler beforehand?
The great moments here exist merely as bookends, which is the single most concerning aspect of this release. When the album's been playing for awhile, and when we're used to it playing, it doesn't impress. but when the thought of it not being there occurs, we find ourselves enamored by it. So we convince ourselves it’s worthwhile, that we can just listen to the strongest tracks and disregard the rest, but the fact remains: nobody should have to sort through this much muck to get to something enjoyable. Light Bearer needs to acquaint itself with the concept of quality control, and fast.