Released in May 2020, Feral Light’s Life Vapor is a seriously intense journey. This album begins with a dark, swelling intro, as if reaching out for you, giving you only moments to prepare for what is to come … then it begins. The first track, “Blood in Sand,” truly delivers. Right away you are sucked into the desolation, spellbound by the sound. You are entranced by the solid skill and talent behind the instrumentation and vocals. This first track sets you up for what is a very full, satisfying album. The guitar work is well-played and all instrumentation feels to be engineered with just the right touches–the right depth, that width and air needed to draw you in, the low end and mids fine-tuned (whether on purpose or not), this was done with some mindful precision. I thoroughly enjoy this album. For me, it was one of those immediate must haves.
Feral Light is a two-piece project out of Minnesota, self described as black metal/crust. Having had some experience myself performing in both a punk rock act and a deathrock act in the 90s, I can say that I do hear elements of both along with other variances in sound. I find the compositional construct very pleasing and backed with real talent. I tend to be drawn to bands that have a more rounded, self-assured sense about themselves. I think this band hits that level–sort of an awareness that sounds within punk can lead to metal, or vise versa, and then not being afraid to integrate, and put it out there. Bands are already being forced to classify their project’s genre (platform visibility), and it can create limitations if they refuse to. You have to experience this to know what I mean (every person in a band just shook their heads in agreement). I could see this project’s work being enjoyed by those into black metal for sure, AND I can also see this project appealing to those into what I think of as the “fringe” genres, meaning any genre that can brush up against another, main categorized genre.
My favorite track is “In Summation.” It begins with force, then turns into a wonderful, maddening, almost frightening trip into some forgotten, dismal, metal abyss. I mean, listen to it. If you can’t tell, I really like this album (look how many adjectives I’ve used). I like dark, gloomy, tragic, pulls-you-into-a-fucking-nightmare-of-awesomeness stuff. This fits in. You can purchase it from Feral Light’s bandcamp here: https://ferallight.bandcamp.com/ or from Hypnotic Dirge Records at the link below.
Feral Light Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ferallight/
Hypnotic Dirge Records link: https://hypnoticdirgerecords.bandcamp.com/album/life-vapor
Feral Light Bandcamp link to album: https://ferallight.bandcamp.com/
Artwork by Unexpected Specter.
VAZUM hails from Detroit, Michigan. When listening, I get this Manson-esque, Christian Death, and dare I say darker Pixies feeling that teeters someplace in the 90s, hauntingly so. It’s not something of a sound I’ve heard around much–which I like because that’s how, in my opinion, art’s supposed to work.
Let me get into the notes I have on the production of this album … the style is (as I hear it to be) a gothic, post-grunge, darkly-distorted, trip into what the band describes as “deathgaze.” I enjoy the place the instrumentation takes me to, because I am a fan of the stranger things that came out of the 90s–this reminds me of that. “Vampyre” is one of my favorites on this album. It sludges, depressingly drags, and delights with the melancholy charm contained within. I enjoy the heavy bass work and guitar sound on this track in particular. The bass feels pretty clean, as if being played live. The album itself is not over-produced, it retains an indie feeling worth appreciation.
Interestingly, a good portion of the album is much like a soundtrack into some satanic insane asylum … at Halloween. I would say that some of it would fall into experimental realms, laced with moods created by cold sound effects (some becoming cyclical), and creepy whispers. For example, “Witches Breath” and “13th Hour” both take on an other-worldly feel in this way. Underneath, they are trance-inducing but sprinkled on top with sharp high-pitched tones, alerting you to watch out for what might come lurking around the corner next.
Rated V is a trip into sludgy, experimental strangeness that you should take a listen to. And while you’re at it, you should also take a listen to their album Vampyre Villa.
VAZUM is Zach Pliska – vox, guitar, synth, drums
Emily Sturm – vox, bass, synth
Cover art for Rated V by Emily Sturm.
VAZUM bandcamp: https://vazum.bandcamp.com/album/rated-v
This article was written by Veronica Campbell of Death Loves Veronica for Dark Wave Publications. Originally published on October 1, 2020.