After nearly four years of silence since 2016’s Northern Ascendancy 7″ (which, similar to a previously mentioned Maquahuitl album, is thankfully not a lead-in to hideous white nationalism), DIY black metal duo Axis of Light returns with their first full-length release. The self-titled cassette (physical copies are forthcoming from Pristine Blight) is a cathartic and invigorating dose of raw melodic magic. Much of the low- to mid- end has been either scooped out or disregarded entirely, leaving the razor-sharp remnants to reach for the heavens, crunchy major key tremolo and barely audible blasting creating a luminescent current of exultation. While all of the instrumentals are provided by one half of the duo, T.L., the other, A.B., handles all vocal duties, channeling every ounce of their energy into achingly affecting shrieks that tug and tear at the confines of their low-fidelity capture. The immediately affecting emotion and reverent dedication to the craft present on Axis of Light reminds me of other raw, high-energy triumphs like Graveflowers’ The Hyacinth Garden or even Nattens Madrigal, and I would say only with slight hesitance that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with both.