White Ward
False Light


4.3
superb

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
June 22nd, 2022 | 179 replies


Release Date: 06/17/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkness moves aside. Light is found.

False Light is eruptive. Hailing from Ukraine, metal-melders White Ward have recently exploded onto the scene and yet there’s a wonderment that these black-gazing, corpse howlers have somehow been at their craft for an actual decade because White Ward themselves bloomed late, only releasing a debut full-length in 2017. For many it’s the sophomore, insightfully titled Love Exchange Failure would become the plot point to which most fans of extreme music would compare. Maybe this is unfair? Because as much as the band’s previous music touted the borders between the conventional reach of a black metal band doing black metal things and a brass band on a jazz bender White Ward themselves just fell short of blowing the proverbial socks off listeners left and right. Inspiration for things to come? No, Love Exchange Failure had already set the tone, False Light just needed to polish, to lift, to come into the light while shedding all the hesitation of the discography before it.

Already, “Leviathan” shows insight into just how False Light would expand on the band’s prominent blackened influences while providing room for a well-thought dichotomy of mellow jazz melodies that respectively cut, seep and wind throughout this monstrous thirteen minute opener. The track’s core is respectively a deeper cut of metal, made accessible by its pace and marginalised approach to bringing brass instruments into the fray. “Leviathan” breathes in tempo changes, unbridled fury (especially in regards to the song’s final minutes) and melodic flourishes that guide a listener throughout the length of this gambit. More impressive is the sonic switch to gentle acoustic interplay found in “Salt Paradise”. Humble beginnings provide a sombre backdrop for Jay Gambit’s deep clean vocal frames. It’s as if White Ward are acutely aware of just how taxing metal can be; often unrelenting, unyielding and instead offers a placating stop-gap on the way to more traditionally heavy means. This is just part of False Light’s roaring success. A balancing act well on its way to being one of the better records of the year. False Light breathes in, breathes out, and then goes ham all over again.

“Silence Circles” and its precluding, “Phoenix” is that fury. Punishing instrumentation, roaring synth work and dual vocal passages amplify White Ward’s newest reach. Smooth brass tones make way for thunderous riffs and punishing screams. The twenty minute scope of these two songs are a lesson in contrast and in bombastic metal song-writing. “Silence Circles” in particular is filled to the brim with some of the band’s fastest drum sections to date. False Light does falter slightly towards its back end. While “Cronus” tells a tale of a child shot by law enforcement, the music is slightly off-kilter compared to the rest of the record—favouring a too casual underlying rock motif that only sometimes sells the tale. It’s a slight niggle, dispositional in light of the furor and rage found within the song’s back half and yet, White Ward bounce back into what’s possibly the year’s best title track. “False Light” has a run-time exceeding the fourteen minute mark and is a titan that simply stands above others. Everything that False Light has achieved throughout this record manifests itself into “False Light”...the track. Riffs surge into progressive territory while providing the very backdrop for more clean and harsh vocals. In time, the song leans into slight avant territory, while maintaining a huge sense of groove. It’s unfortunate that False Light doesn’t finish on such a titanic high note, followed by a three minute footnote a la “Downfall”. While this closing track maintains the standard of the rest of the record, it should have found itself higher up the track list, helping bridge some of the more poignant, heavier moments peppered throughout which in turn, would allow False Light to go out on a high.

While my complaints are few and minor, it does really go without saying that White Ward have created something special in the year 2022. False Light is grand, explosive and somehow more forward thinking than the albums that came before it. I won’t go as far to say False Light is innovative, but by measure of sheer quality, it is unreservedly worthy of mention among the year’s best releases. False Light is also unhampered by its sixty-six minute run-time and a treat for extreme metal fans of all ages.




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user ratings (151)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4.5)
False Light just might be their most realized effort so far....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

A couple less curse words used in this review.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


28294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

One of the year's best for now. Nice chef, saved for reading with a coffee later!

Digging: Autumn's Grey Solace - Within the Depths of a Darkened Forest

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Agreed. For anyone thinking about what this album can offer, just give that Bandcamp embed a go and thank Sput later.

Gyromania
June 22nd 2022


34579 Comments


Lol I found this through Dewinged's ratings and was actually just listening to it as this went up. Very good so far.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Don't feel bad. You're not the only Dewi stalker on the site.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


28294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Oh shit, no pressure lol

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Woah, this one got to the features queue a lot quicker than the last review.

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


3468 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this intrigues me, might need to check soon

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


15350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No use of "cunt" or "fuck" in the review, neg'd -_-



Nah, just kidding, solid read. Always down for more blackgaze, so I'll check it out in a bit... the jazz elements sound intriguing too

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

This is a lot less gazey than the use of that descriptor would imply. It's magnificent anyways.

Purpl3Spartan
June 22nd 2022


4090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really digging this black metal jazz so far



Great write up as always

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Looks like we're one more staff rate away from a BNM slot too.

Purpl3Spartan
June 22nd 2022


4090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Les go

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


2075 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Yes!! An improvement you say? That's all I need to hear.



Regardless, I read all of your words and they are good words - great words, even. hipe

Purpl3Spartan
June 22nd 2022


4090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rob has the best words

cloakanddagger
June 22nd 2022


546 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I've really liked this band's stuff but I've been waiting for that album from them that I absolutely adore. I think this might be that album.

KrillBoi
June 22nd 2022


110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really can't get into the vocals at the start of Cronus, but that's about the only complaint I've got, this shit is amazing.

twlight
June 22nd 2022


6406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jammed this today and it's pretty amazing. Need a couple more listens but the jazz elements feel a lot better implemented on this one

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17707 Comments


Gotta jam this asap

Digging: Darkane - Inhuman Spirits

Pikazilla
June 22nd 2022


23181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dece but yeah, bm continues to disappoint this year



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