(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Advent Sorrow from Perth, Australia.)
Every so often a band you like makes an unexpected shift in sound, transforming that “like” into outright “love”. And that’s precisely what Advent Sorrow have done with their new album, As All Light Leaves Her, shedding the symphonic grandeur that permeated their debut EP in favour of an all-round darker and more desperate form of borderline DSBM-style sonic despair.
It’s not a complete paradigm shift, of course, as this extra layer of grim(e) was already apparent on Like a Moth to a Flame, the stand-alone single they released last year. But As All Light Leaves Her takes things a step further into the murk and mire, resulting in an album of bleak, harrowing melody and torturous metallic agony that errs closer to the sound of Infestus or early Shining than it does the more dramatic Dimmu Borgir-isms with which the band first made their name.
That’s not to say that the band have completely stripped their sound of any keyboard or piano presence, it’s just that it now takes on much more of a supporting role. Whether it’s the shimmering ivory work that signals a transition into more solemn, reflective waters part-way through “While Bones Are Broken”, or the subtle string-laden ambience that suffuses the creepy “Shining Hollow” with such grisly glamour, these embellishments now add more in their restraint than a thousand layers of faux orchestration ever could.
Indeed, by stripping back their sound to its primal essence the band now simply feel more real, more vital, more truly alive, than ever before. There’s a palpable sense of rage and anguish that bleeds through in every ugly, bile-smeared riff or blackened, blood-spattered drumbeat, accentuated by a more raw and filthy production that grants the drums a suitably cavernous and booming sound and gives the guitars and bass more than adequate room to writhe in their own distorted dissonance.
Perhaps the greatest beneficiary of this newly (un)refined approach are the vocals of frontman Rhys King though. Powerful and spiteful enough on their early releases, the shift in overall sound and style of As All Light Leaves Her truly allows him the chance to really cut loose. His howling, strangulated screams and churning, choking growls seem to usher forth from his throat without mercy or restraint, positively reeking of pain and anguish, in a performance of sheer, uncompromising extremity and bloody catharsis.
To really understand the album though, you have to look at how it begins – and how it ends.
The aptly named “Hopeless” introduces As All Light Leaves Her with a sombre processional of shadowy piano, over which replays a truly haunting rendition of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. It’s one of the most impressive scene-setting introductions that I’ve heard this year, and truly captures the mix of rage and suffering which drives the album, priming the way for the convulsive suicide-grooves of “With Storming Death”.
It closes with the cold, melodic menace of “Absolute Perpetual Death”, whose desolate beauty is matched only by the ghastly and ghoulish undercurrent of pure, unflinching misery conjured by its buzzing, blinding riffs and abrasive, glass-chewing vocals.
As All Light Leaves Her truly is a nasty piece of work, make no mistake, and I doubt even established fans of the band will be prepared for just how gloriously ugly and unrepentantly savage it is. It’s the sound of a band remorselessly pushing themselves well outside their comfort zone to create something simultaneously compelling and repellent in all its morbid majesty and rancorous emotion.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Never heard this band before. Definitely going to be getting this. This is why I love this website.
Thank you! Comments like this make what we do worthwhile.
^ He’s right. Thank you.
I’ve never commented on here before for any reason, although I’m always on here haha
But I thought you guys might want to know that I’ve discovered so much great music over the last 2 years of reading the articles & listening to the music you guys post. I give you guys much of the credit as far as the deep, dark depths of my windows media player library goes haha
Interesting review, I’m eagerly awaiting my own pre-ordered copy from from the band.
The packaging and art are very tasty too.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Do not go gentle on this good night
..there you have it
Indeed… you have correctly identified the poem… that was identified in the review.
And the less said about “Interstellar” the better.
just actually read it now;
i have already had the chance to listen to it a couple of days before and was so happy to see it here so i just played it.
i really like those cosmic interstellar atmospheric scenes, they came close to the theoretical image i brewed in my head by the books on the subject.
Interestingly enough the poem is widely believed to be about the passing of his father, though nothing was ever firmly stated whether this was true or not.
yes, guess everything a man does in the end has one thing to do with their father
they’re so adventurous with their sounds and arrangements, a very cool band 🙂
So great. Really. Everytime I feel frustrated about the overwhelming amount of boring standard stuff, I just have to visit NCS. Its like a constantly growing pile of gems! Wiegedood, Slugdge, this guys here – I never got that much incredibly good music in this short period of time. Thanx for that 🙂
Thank you very much for those very kind words.
Except you guys (And Angry Metal Guy is the other criminal site) are responsible, responsible I tell you, for serious impacts on my bak account!
I wonder if I can find a lawyer to take my case? Bwahahahahahaa
Don’t bother. We’ve moved all our assets into an off-shore account in the Galapagos Islands, where they were eaten by turtles.
Thanks Andy and nocleansinging! I discovered this band through you. Absolutely a wonderful album and a great accurate review! I can’t believe somebody gave this a 30% because of the band’s shift in style over at that archive site.
Thank you for giving this album justice!
No problem-o (people still say that, right?).
Metal-Archives is undoubtedly a very useful tool. and one I use all the time, but it does have its flaws (like any site really), one of which is that it’s very easy for negative reviews to unfairly “skew” the perception of a band’s quality.
(The other being that I can’t change the band picture for Twilight’s Embrace, and I hate it!)
Good review and a fair account.
I saw these guys play last week with At the Gates. They absolutely blew me away. I was fully blown. Thanks guys! I had been trying to diversify my metal for years, but some bands are shit and can put you off, decades in my case. I bought this Album and have played it non-stop. Especially in the car with my kids. I play this album 3 times over before I let them my boys hear their favourtite current song – by (Journey – Don’t Stop Believin). I grew up with metal and I would say I have very wide tastes in music, but this album stands up against the very best of all albums. Maybe its just suits my ears perfectly, gosh I just don’t know. But it has everything you could want for a fearless metal album. sweet melodies, anger and pleasant sadness. Well done ADVENT SORROW.
P.S Skin to Suffer In is the Best song ever.