Review Summary: A great Suicidal Black Metal album that dares to be different and is all the better for it.
Suicidal black metal is a genre that can be hard to take seriously. Bands often advocate and endorse themes of suicide and hate of life, however very few seem to walk the talk. It doesn’t help that many bands rely on absolute *** production and *** music to create an “atmosphere” which is basically just a bunch of noise and a 10 dollar Casio keyboard. So when walking into Thy Light, a band which not only describes itself as “suicidal music for suicidal people” but is also the solo project of a guy (Paolo Bruno) whose full time job is as guitarist for Brazilian power metallers Dreamstate, I was expecting little less than gimmicks and stereotypes played with no actual emotional depth or musical value. However I was about to be pleasantly surprised, as Suici.De.Pression (oh yeah the name didn’t help my initial impression either) is a powerful record with lots to offer.
From the beginning the album stands out as a different observation upon the genre. A soft piano piece begins the record and gives it its name; it displays a masterful use of dynamics as the song slowly begins to climb up to its incredible climax, a fast flurry of arpeggios which show something rare for this type of music, actual technique. “In my last mourning…” begins with a quiet guitar intro along with the sound of waves which becomes slowly more and more intense with gradual ease, not with sudden jumps in dynamic which often make songs feel awkward. When the black metal finally kicks in around the 4 minute mark it is truly impressive, and though it doesn’t stray too far from tradition it manages to be different. Throughout the whole record not a single blast beat is used, however it still manages to feel like black metal, and the atmosphere is just incredible. The screams are high pitched and emotional and the guitars are dirty all throughout, however not dirty enough to become an unintelligible mess. However the true victory of Suici.De.Pression is the rhythm section (well it’s a one man band but you get what I mean). The drums are not typical black metal, as I said no blast beats, but the masterful use of the double pedal and just the right moments gives the album its feel of emotional depth, the dynamics go up and down, moments of intensity are perfectly highlighted and it all thanks to the insistence of the bass drum and the bass guitar. This formula works amazingly on “In my last mourning…” and “A crawling worm in a world of lies” however “I am the bitter taste of Gall” actually manages to suffer from it.
After two absolutely amazing songs that rely on their impeccable use of dynamics and build ups “I am the bitter taste of Gall” is truly a letdown. It starts off well but soon enough you realize something is wrong, it’s just a slow black metal song, boring, overlong and with a serious lack of ideas, what the rest of the album would be like without the powerful drum and bass combos and the catchy melodies. It’s not a bad song by itself, the last two or three minutes are actually pretty badass, it’s just nowhere near the power of the rest of the album and really brings the overall quality down. Perhaps the only problem with the album aside from this song is the lyrics, the only thing in the band not written by Paolo Bruno (which speaks very well of him) instead written by a guy called Alex Witchfinder. Though the vocals are nothing short of absolutely brilliant the often lackluster lyrics often harm one’s appreciation of Bruno’s majestic shrieks. Even though I am biased in this field for my constant grudge with this genre’s lyrics, these stand out not only because of their subject matter but because they are actually very badly written, one has but to look at some of the song title’s to realize this.
“…And I finally reachs my end”, the album’s closing track is by far its most amazing, emotional melodies and solos galore soar on top of the returned rampage of the rhythm section. Bruno ditches the guttural shrieks for a Silencer-like scream of agony, the dynamics fell fresh and powerful, the up and down formula that works so well in other places of the album exploited to its maximum extension in what is easily one of the best black metal songs of 2008 and a perfect example of everything the SBM can be when done right.
The album is a fresh breath of air in the scene, a powerfully crafted piece of work that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or clichés yet never betrays the genre that it is very proudly a part of. An emotional album with actual emotion that doesn’t rely on constant aggression to drive the point home, a truly marvelous record that promises a lot for what this band may accomplish in the future.