“I believe that history is a listing of atrocities and horror, not because we are evil, but because history itself is a kind of performance.” Those words are uttered by Kitap rol Keshmat, reluctant priest of the spider goddess in “The Dagger and the Coin” book series’ finale “The Spider’s War.” At this point, everyone in the series had been choked by war in Daniel Abraham’s tales, with humanity teetering on the edge of chaos if a sure-to-fail, haphazard plan can’t be enacted to stop those who would shed blood for power.
You don’t need to read the series to relate to the quote (though you read should read it immediately), as war has been a part of our DNA pretty much since the start. It’s only that we’ve pressed the gas pedal on escalation and have deadlier means of massacre than ever before. It was weird that I happened to read Kit’s line the same day I immersed myself in Feral Light’s debut EP “A Sound of Moving Shields” the very same day. Over these five songs, the band focuses on the subject of human annihilation during war, people being at the boot steps of militarism with no way of them being able to submit, and absolute corruption. It’s a stain on our history as people, and it’s one from which we never seem to learn.
The lyrical heaviness melds nicely with Feral Light’s metallic savagery, served on a bloody bed of black metal with a twist of melodic jolt added for good measure. The members of this band bring with them impressive resumes built with bands such as Wolvhammer, Embalm, Empires, Incarnate Deity and plenty others, and their crushing force is on full display over this effort. Comprised of vocalist Jeff Scheuermann, guitarist/bassist Andy Schoengrund, and drummer Andrew Reesen, the band splatters horrors over this 31-minute effort (nearly full-length territory!) that is being released in limited cassette by Sentient Ruin Laboratories, who consistently do an excellent job scouring the underground for fresh blood to release to their followers. This is another astute singing.
“Mercenary” has a grim opening, with blasts hammering forward, and morbidly catchy melodies colliding with creaky growls. The tempo manages to get nastier, with blackened vocals, massive thrashing, and swaggering riffs smearing, with guitars and howls racing toward the gates. “Hell By Compass” has a humid opening, storming ahead with gruff growls battering you. Later, the black fury erupts, with the tempo punching hard and chunky chorus adding to the bruising. The guitars blend in black metal menace, feeling like threatening thunder and lightning is on the horizon about to strike you into oblivion. “Baptized in Shellfire” has raw growls and a punishing assault, blasting everything apart and pushing the track into the smudge. A roll-n-roll-flavored battery machine unloads with power, with the riffs taking on a slight High on Fire aura, and the warfront charging over everything. “In Glorious Battle Slain” could not have been better named, with guitars stampeding, the war tale bursting through everything in its wake, and wails of, “Heroes and champions!” giving your chest some final bruising. Closer “Ultima Ration Regum” unloads right away, with the guitars slathering and the pace ripping up bones and flesh. There is melody infused into fire, with the growls scathing and your senses utterly bashed. There’s no room for calm or serenity, as the band lays waste and brings the song to a cataclysmic finish.
War is hell and, it seems, inevitable. The longer our existence lasts, the more humanity’s body count ticks upward, a fact that Feral Light bring to focus on “A Sound of Moving Shields.” Warnings never are heeded and blood continually shed, and at what cost? That we have bands such as Feral Light to poke at that wound is good for awareness, but at what point do we duck and cover ourselves for impact, our lives and those around us simply chalked up as another chess piece on the road to domination.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ferallight/
To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/feral-light-a-sound-of-moving-shields
For more on the label, go here: http://sentientruin.com/