“Sidereal Light” is Crow Black Sky’s second full length outing since Pantheion in 2010. The Cape Town based Atmospheric Black Metal band then went on hiatus before returning with new purpose. In this 17th January release they restate the traditions of black metal while yet re-imagining it’s scope.Sidereal Light was written, recorded, produced and mastered at guitarist and founding member Gideon Lamprecht’s home studio over a period of five months.
“It was the only way to bring the concept to life, and to get the atmospheric/cosmic sound and essence that we were after.” Gedion Lamprecht
Here in this subtle cosmic drama, Crow Black Sky takes the painstaking approach that Black Metal has been so well known for, with long enduring repetitive passages where soaring guitar melodies are withered down to slow contemplative moans. Piercing drum patterns swirl around as atmospheric effects color the horizon. And in that droning pause within the chaos, Ryan Higgo’s raspy and yearning vocals echo back that output like an observer, awestruck to a point of reluctance.
“To Fathom the Stars” is the second track on this record, which picks up seamlessly from its predecessor “Ascendant“. These two tracks echo each other much like every other skillful attribute on this record, in a way that gives meaning and a sort of peaceful reckoning. At a run-time of 11.38 To Fathom the Stars expands the texture and motion of Ascendant while arduously gazing at its constituent parts. Here each part is like a detailed and set scene, where pattering drum work serves to intensify the present moment as well as build up the next passage. I found it remarkable how the atmospherics and synths were used here, to enhance rather than to distract from the mayhem, succeeding to effect a mood that is not only tenderly uplifting but also a source of relief.
This is a record not hard to appreciate perhaps helped along by the homage like performance on vocals by Ryan. Splendidly backed by Lamprecht they are like a ripple on a still but vast expanse. He keeps pace and responds as if he were the vessel through which the silent cosmos speaks.
“Lightless, Lifeless” is the high-point of this record, with it’s grand melodic passage at minute 1. 28 like a heavy applause before the final lap. It is the most satisfying experience throughout the record without a doubt.
And as it completes its rhythmic cycle “Sidereal Light” emerges in an intense final act that builds up to a a fractured point, hurtling down to a calm reception. This final track illustrates the emergence of the cosmos from chaos to a primordial soup that is again pulled apart into chaos. Long drawing passages seem to run on infinitely but with such good execution we begin to realize that it does take a little eternity to experience the cosmos.
Review by Kobimbo Daniel
Edited by Abner Mbaka and Martin Kanja