Written By: Gothmog
I’m gonna cut the crap: The Love Album – Volume I will rip off all your skin and plunge everything else you’ve got into a vacuous void of nothingness. And you’re gonna like it. Madrid’s As Light Dies takes the atmosphere of gothic metal bands and the ferocity of black metal, only to add a controlled, yet savage and intelligent portioning of avant-garde, resulting in something entirely unique and all their own. And while it’s considered a “love album,” it’s exactly what you’re expecting at this point: bleak, disturbing, agonizing love songs that match the music perfectly. Apart from some minor gripes here and there, As Light Dies are giving the world something fierce, but something dark and emotional all at once.
What’s interesting to note about the album is that it’s theatrical, in a sense. Just running short of 35 minutes, it consists of four songs and five interludes, two of which open and close the album. While this may seem like the band is cheating you out of music, the interludes are brief, especially when compared to the songs themselves, all of which extend past six minutes. Each song brings forth something interesting, being wholly unique while retaining the band’s core sound. Take for instance “Your Mourning,” that, while as aggressive as the rest of the album, shifts dynamics in the middle of the song and completely changes the overall flow, all before coming back full force with little-to-no warning. The versatility of As Light Dies’s sound on this album is great for the band members, too, to showcase their songwriting abilities. And fitting it all into 28 minutes of music, it’s all the more enjoyable.
Even though that may seem like a downside to the album, the short length works exceptionally well with the theatricality. I complain a lot that albums generally don’t give much diversity in their song lengths or don’t include interludes where it would benefit, but the brief breaks in between songs here work perfectly: after each beating you receive, you get about thirty seconds to get your shit back together and get up again to take another hit. It’s effective for As Light Dies, as it keeps the album interesting from the first sound clip to the last interlude.
And there’s no question about their musicianship, either. The entire band seems to know their place and never steps out of their required boundaries, forming a solid unit for the band. However, while everyone’s approach is great, it’s vocalist and guitarist Nightmarer who I find a slight issue with. His growls are deep and deadly, and his cleans soar despite the emotional weight attached, but it’s the contrast between the two that takes off some points. His clean voice fits the required range that the music demands, but his growls are stuck in the same pitch, never venturing out of low-rumbles. On a track like “Orpheus Mourning,” the music seems to call for him to produce more than just low growls. Making matter worse, early on in the album, his vocals sit too far back in the mix. Later on though, they seem to come through better, but perhaps it’s just me getting used to them by that point.
Regardless of the missed opportunities and production misstep, there is no doubting the strong effort put forth by As Light Dies. Given that this is the first volume of The Love Album, this sets the standards very high for the next volume. No pressure, though! Judging by this volume, it’s safe to assume As Light Dies will be throwing your soul into the vacuum of nothingness sooner rather than later.