Sunday, June 9, 2013

Artist of the Day: Light Bearer

Key Album: Lapsus (2011)
There are bands that take their music seriously, and then there is Light Bearer. Behind the monolithic riffs and post-metal crescendos is a group of musicians who have a story to tell, and Light Bearer’s scheduled four-album cycle is their medium. Drawing from a wide array of influences, including the Book of Genesis, Dante’s Inferno, Paradise Lost, and His Dark Materials, Light Bearer has put together an epic narrative as a metaphor for human nature and the corruption of religion. Also presented over the tetralogy are ideologies on such diverse subjects as gender discrimination, the evolution of sexuality, and cultural stereotypes. This is a band that has put a great deal of time and thought into its project, and so far the results are stunning.

Light Bearer is a band that takes post-metal to extremes: half of the songs in its catalogue exceed fourteen minutes in length, complete with an intro, outro, and several movements along the way. The vocals are roars scattered throughout these massive pieces of songwriting; the guitars burn slowly above crashing drums like a storm pounding waves against a rocky coast. Effervescent strings waft in and out of the metamorphic layers of sound, gentle rays of hope among the chaos. This is music on an enormous scale; primal in its aggression but decidedly human in its calculated, inexorable march towards a raging climax. Such grand sonic scope is rather fitting, considering the subject matter which inspired its first two albums, Lapsus and Silver Tongue. Thsee albums tell the story of Lucifer (the eponymous Light Bearer) and his fall from heaven, portraying him not as the evil biblical entity, but as a tragic figure, an angel deceived, betrayed, and cast out. “I will not blithely wilt / in the light of your glory / I will not blindly walk / and glimpse the void,” he cries in Lapsus’ titular song.

Light Bearer’s vocalist, ‘Alex CF’, crafts a terrific story through lyrics and literary tie-ins. According to the band’s biography, the narrative is “based around a story written by [Alex], who drew influence from the writings of Philip Pullman’s ‘His dark materials’ trilogy, John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, and the Book of Genesis, [in creating] an allegorical tale in which to forward atheist/anti-theist and free thought ideologies.” A bit wordy, but the point is made that the band’s work is both music and a philosophical statement. While the increased prominence of actual singing on their latest record is a nice touch, most of the vocals are still Alex’s harsh roars, which, despite his consistently excellent tone and phrasing, are disappointingly unintelligible. Those great concepts and poetic lyrics aren’t much good without a lyrics sheet.

Light Bearer has taken on an amazingly intricate and complex project, and so far managed to pull it off. The band’s work is, however, a demanding listen; it is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who expect immediate dividends. Light bearer goes beyond entertainment, forcing its audience to consider their views on religion and morality as it enraptures with monumental music and storytelling. If you think you’re up to it, brace yourself for an epic journey as Light Bearer stakes is claim among the best acts in post-metal.

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