For me, the fulsome black metal fodder is slowly starting to unleash some of its better products. Gaunt, Forgjord and Witch In Her Tomb were all grim affairs, culminating impeccable atmosphere and sonorous power, but Axis Of Light is an even grimmer group of composers, embracing all that is shrill and sonorously ear-piercing upon mankind with their Ep, ‘By the Hands Of The Consuming Fire’’. It’s amazing how such noisy black metal ferocity doesn’t sound dissonant or fibrously detached, but Axis Of Light thrive their already attained advantage even further, elevating towards a stark atmosphere that’s by far the shrillest I’ve heard all year. This disturbing excursion is far from its uttermost peek, but it still appeals to me much better than many other hazy interruptions I’ve been through this year so far.
‘’By The Hands Of The Consuming Fire’’ is completely buzzy, statically chaotic, encompassing and deliberately intruding. It’s no major departure from any sound that its relevantly similar to, and the most satisfying way to describe their formula would be calling them a more sombre and gelid version of Burzum. Of course, there’s more than just grimly complemented Burzum here, obviously. First off, the production is rawer than any Burzum record (if not, equally as raw as Burzum’s most primal offerings) and as much as it espouses a darkened, spectral tide, it does tend to frequently blast out raw barrages of hazy and piercing savagery. It beholds a mournful splendour that one can only hope to have, beautiful, entrancing but frigid as cold winter night. Each riff is just as pleasuring as it is ear scratching and gnawing, with a noise-y, gritty tone adding substantial bleakness and electric to the charged cluster of tremolos.
The gnawing lament does not end there, however, as the vocals on ‘’By The Hands of The Consuming Fire’’ are shrill, shattering weeps and highly raspy shrieks that travel through luminous crudity, alongside a cavernous brand of underlying reverb, and finally scratching its way to your ear drums. The vocals are even sharper than the riffs and it’s probably the bleak, vague rasps that stayed on my mind the most. Despite the fuzzed nature of the implements, the atmosphere actually adopts a far more earthly sound, far more luminous than its contemporaries, lightly engulfing the listener in an aura that is kilter and organic. The benign sound of the atmosphere is magnificent and is soft even under the rough bloodshed that occurs above.
I honestly can’t praise this enough. Axis Of Light managed to create something that’s harmonious in a hazy way and accessible, despite the fact that it will still not grab the attention of many atmosphere-enemies. It’s not flawless, I’ll warn you about that, but it has frigid beauty and atmosphere written all over it and for fans who are into such sharp and gritting raw atmospheric black metak should get on this as fast as they can, and I’m not sure whether the band’s future moves are positive or not, but for now this will suffice and be cherished, no matter how short it is.