Light Bearer - _Lapsus_
(Halo of Flies, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8 out of 10)
Post metal / atmospheric sludge is a style which rarely gets the attention it deserves. Perhaps it is because the genre is relativity new, the scene has few high profile bands and most of its fanbase consists of post rock and indie fans. Its history has also been marked with a distinctive sound, as well as a rigid template rarely deviated from. Since its inception, the style has rarely evolved beyond its initial highlights and has been content to soak in obscurity. The bands within the genre also rarely bring anything interesting to the table.

Britain's Light Bearer augments the softer side of Explosions in the Sky with _Oceanic_ era Isis vocals. This combination could be cause for immediate dismissal, and the two elements are located too closely on the musical periodic table to turn any heads. Light Bearer's debut also boasts monumental tracks segmented by brief interludes. There is nothing new here and everything has been done a decade ago. Despite everything, though, it is still pretty damn awesome.

_Lapsus_ is the first chapter in a proposed four part concept detailing the banishment of Lucifer out of the realms of heaven. In the band's biography, the story is inspired by the Bible, John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and, oddly enough, Philip Pullman's young adult literary trilogy "His Dark Materials". Light Bearer's first EP _Beyond the Infinite, the Assembly of God_ serves as an introduction and prologue into the lengthy epic. If anything can be said about Light Bearer, it is that they are continuing the tradition of interjecting deep philosophical pretext overtop of atmospheric sludge.

Light Bearer possess something simple which most post metal bands lack. Despite the six members, Light Bearer's sound is dynamic with an airy ferocity. The template of post metal can hamper the sound into a predictable heavy weight which rolls untouched until the end of the record. "Primum Movens"' use of the simple snare snap during the song's build is enough to rouse active interest. Rarely, during a 14 minute sludge march, does the chance come for a fist clenching crescendo. Heavy isn't a destination, rather a stage for the band's experiments into the style we all have heard before.

Alex CF appears to be at the helm for the band, taking vocal, lyrical and art direction duties. Alex's voice, while similar to the post metal template, is thinner with many instances of professional blemishes. While these qualities may sound like a hindrance, the deviation from what has been heard before works in favor of the band, presenting a rare strand of passion and undeniable effort. The croaks, screeches and laryngeal blowouts all contribute a bruising character which makes _Lapsus_ memorable. The voice is carried to the upper echelons by the solid instrumental qualities. Light Bearer sounds less like a post metal band making another album, rather a metal band discovering fire for the first time. _Lapsus_ punches as much as it soothes and presents post metal with an oddly youthful vigor.

I will be interested to see if Light Bearer's story can match the promise and effort of its first chapter. I would also be interested to see if the whole of the story reaches a conclusion. Proposing a project this large allows many variables to hinder, change and destroy the original thesis. If this new British band is able to do what they say, with the type of quality seen in their first offering, then the band -- and the style which it plays -- will progress much further than anyone has ever thought. If they pull it off, it will be the greatest sludgy atmospheric magic trick the world has ever seen.


(article published 15/5/2011)

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