Review Summary: and in the end, our destiny is like scales to be shed
Drowning The Light's sole member Azgorh's prolificity has undoubtedly produced some less than stellar efforts, but his progress from depressive bedroom black metal musician to paragon of atmospheric black metal has been a journey well worth the occasional dud. His newest demo, The Vampyre Cipher
definitely stands as one of the releases that keeps fans like myself coming back. Though only a scant ten minutes in length, the two tracks featured -"An Ancient Curse Upon the Light" and "Of Bloodlust & Shadows"- stand with his finest. They ply the middle-ground between raw and romantic; as shards of static pierce, medieval melodies prevail.
That's simply what Drowning The Light does best, and this element feels elevated throughout The Vampyre Cipher
; Azgorh's raw black metal craft has been perfected. "An Ancient Curse Upon the Light" exudes a euphoria ready to burst from the track's seams as harmonious tremolos, choral chants and tattered production coalesce and climb to spine-tingling heights. Despite its rawness, it's very listenable, a description also fit for "Of Bloodlust & Shadows". Here, Azgorh's acidic wails penetrate through a more traditional black metal experience. The song isn't as undefined in structure as its predecessor, nor does it reach the same atmospheric heights, but once again Azgorh's melodic sensibilities -simple, straightforward, and unwavering- cultivate another memorable track in his rapidly growing catalog.
The Vampyre Cypher
stands as a great measuring tool for just how far Drowning The Light has come since it formed in 2003. It's natural for an artist to grow with each successive record, but considering the insane pace Azgorh works at, the improvements he's been able to implement over the years remains impressive as ever. As a stalwart musician in a fickle genre he's earned his recognition as one of the driving forces of modern black metal.