Review: Elder Devil – The Light Dimmed Eternal (Crown & Throne Ltd, Feb 15)

From the second the distorted speech sample and growling dissonance of “Empty” tears its way into your eardrums, The Light Dimmed Eternal establishes a dark, oppressive, and absolutely crushing atmosphere that never ceases until the last mud-dripping chord rings out into silence. Though Elder Devil consists of only two members, their sound is dense and weighty, and every note smashes with nothing less than full force. The Light Dimmed Eternal also never concerns itself with relieving the pregnant tension that the staggering, barely-held-together unison hits of the opening track introduce; there are no predictable tempo changes precipitated by speedy drum fills or satisfying conclusions that wrap everything up nicely. Instead, the duo maintains its deliberate, lurching pace even in the fastest blast sections, focusing on the dark and hypnotic atmosphere that they weave through meditative, droning repetition. Stephen Muir’s anguished yells grate across the chunky soundscapes without the hindrance of high-pitched guitars or even cymbals—moments like the coda of “May the Light Be Dimmed Eternal” where a merciless low end is led by Jacob Lee’s forceful tom and bass hits while the vocals fill the remaining void are by far the album’s strongest and most magnetic. The Light Dimmed Eternal is clearly a product of two musicians with a defined vision, a quality that comes across in every minute of its carefully composed chaos.

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