Everything Went Black - Cycles of Light
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Date: January 17, 2012
There's something to be said about hardcore drenched metal that almost forces early influences like Black Flag into getting dubbed their own genre. When St. Louis gave birth to the band Everything Went Black, the quartet fit this prototype to the T, from their Keith Morris era tributary name, to the blackened fort built by Entombed. On a part sludge, part throat-gripping split EP from early 2011, a eureka moment occurred and we catch a whiff of what the Converge blueprint crossed out: humbly constructed riffs mean an even deeper connection, and everything else stays anchored in atmospheric gloom.
These sound characteristics may stretch a bit above the identifiable horizon, but they make for a hearty sequel: Cycles of Light. Their debut LP is nine intense tracks, a number that supports deepness over quantity. "XI" relies on a solitary mood via two low-grumble guitars, drawing the track into a state of melancholy and suspense. It then glides into chartered black metal territory where the stereotypical whisperer makes his shadowy debut, the kind whose role is to remind us of some forbidden truths. This certainly doesn't make the interlude meet its skin crawl quota, but there's still room for arpeggiated Norwegian hooks.
We're then thrust into a track that steadily lines warrior paint below the eyes ("Gods of Atlantis"). Slow patterings of the tom drum under high shrills clear a solemn path, but it's not long before breakneck punk and spurts of old school Comeback Kid liven the moment. "Parades" takes on a wolf pack spirit like nothing else on the album; every instrument becomes glued to a dark dirge, with the occasional grating sound of dissonant chords. It's a very methodical kind of hypnosis, appropriately capped off by a dream-like orchestra of violins and violas. But perhaps the track most awarding for the span of their talents is "Kingdoms"; it plays the double-role of a backhanding punker and a vocally grinding mammoth. When the song hits its middle mark, the colors unexpectedly fade to masked solitude, relying mostly on delay effects and a dramatically plucked treble-heavy bass to accentuate the mood.
Even more mysterious than that, though, is the artwork. A woman with bat wings inside an upside-down triangle stares intently at another with a vile in hand ready to be tipped over the others head, and it's uncertain whether it is derived from mythology or a DIY dream-work. But what we do know is it may as well be a track in itself, as it matches the band's astrology washed song titles and black clad production.
Though newcomers to the axe-grinding scene, Everything Went Black summon enough heart-racing brutality that's up to speed with their fearless peers. On the mental front, we're slowly led through tunnels of escapism. And that's its magnetism.