The Lightbringer – From The Void To Existence EP Review

I’ve gotten some weird black metal promos of late. I’ve tackled the black/trap fusion of Mora Prokaza and the clarinet-driven shenanigans of Dawn of a Dark Age, while my distinguished colleagues have covered the spaghetti-Western-obsessed Devil With No Name and the droney blackened doom of Vile Creature. With these and others, no one in good conscience can say that black metal is out of ideas. The jury’s often out in terms of quality, but ambition cannot be denied, and further, should be celebrated, right? Does The Lightbringer’s ambitious blend of kvlt menace and epic tones hit the sweet spot or does its reach exceed its grasp?

From The Void To Existence, like Devil With No Name’s self-titled, is a conniving little EP that snuck through our Jericho-esque walls to fraternize with the big boys. It also manages to offend two camps in its blend of black metal and power metal: a commute, if you will, between the Realm of Obscurely Kvlt Black Metal and the Vault of Powery Cheese, a decidedly Schrödinger’s Kvlt conundrum propagated by acts like Demoniac and Stormlord. Quebecois quartet The Lightbringer’s third release (but first EP) recalls Finland’s tragically underrated Vanguard, a gothic doom-tinged “beauty and the beast” vocal dichotomy between blackened and operatic atop semi-heavy riffs, heavy piano presence, and black metal drumming. While The Lightbringer’s fusion is undoubtedly ambitious and original, boasting some truly memorable moods of menace and melancholy in equal measure, From The Void To Existence’s DIY nature and questionable songwriting ultimately damns it to the purgatory of “what could have been.”

While the line between “gothic metal” and “female-fronted power metal” is blurred, The Lightbringer attempts to fuse the blackened sinister and the power metal epic, and the best channels their inner Fleshgod Apocalypse with Nightwish-esque vocals. “The First Flickers of Thought” and “Sparks of Will” set the mood in equally somber and pummeling tones, featuring beautiful piano overtures and blistering blastbeats with moments of doom patience, while versatile vocals float atop; meanwhile “Desecration of the Void” and “Enchantment” utilize semi-dissonant plucking that pairs nicely with the croons, adding a touch of blackened ugliness. “To Existence,” the longest original track, features a much-needed badass riff with nicely sanguine plucking that sets it apart as the best track. Considered individually, each member performs nicely and stews in potential. Guitarist and drummer Auraeon offers solid riffs and versatile drumming that switches between galloping power metal and blackened blastbeats; vocalists Sol-Orcus and Celestheia respectively offer sinister blackened shrieks and a formidable operatic soprano range; even bassist Archan can be heard noodling throughout the runtime.

In spite of rabid potential and competent performances, what dooms The Lightbringer is composition. As such, it’s difficult to pinpoint what the band is at its best. While the mixing is a bit wonky here and there, as Sol-Orcus’ shrieks often overpower and guitars are too low in the mix, the persistent issues are due to limited fleshing of ideas. A musician can perform a song perfectly, but if the song is not composed properly, execution matters little. Perhaps most glaring is that each track, with the exception of the final two, ends with a jarringly awkward fadeout that bleeds into the next song, feeling like a built-in Garageband trick done poorly. Similarly, apart from the dissonant flourishes and mostly instrumental closer, each track becomes monotonously predictable: pretty piano, sorta heavy riffs, and the mixed vocal attack, its tedium worsened by jarringly short track-times. And I mean short: in spite of ten tracks, From The Void To Existence is only twenty-eight minutes, disallowing each less-than-three-minute track from naturally fleshing itself out. Further, the longest track is the mostly instrumental Kitaro cover of “Caravansary,” which flows the most organically of the batch, begging the painful question: can The Lightbringer not write a good song themselves?

Ultimately, From The Void To Existence is an EP packed with potential and spilling with DIY amateurishness. Each instrument is executed with professionalism and technicality, but the behind-the-scenes composition process makes it difficult to get behind. Its songs are too short to make an impact or establish identity, relegating the sonic palette to “pretty sounds and blackened vocals” with only sparse moments of enjoyment. While I can certainly respect The Lightbringer for their ambition, they simply need to hone their songwriting and beef up their production. With solid performances but abysmal composition, these guys manage to offend black metal worshipers and power metal fans in one fell swoop.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 17th, 2020

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