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DOWNCROSS - What Light Covers Not

Release date September 11/19 (Cavum Atrum Rex / Bandcamp)

Settling in to listen to heretofore unknown Downcross, opening track "To Cross The Path Of Fire" leaps out of the speakers signalling that we're in for some mighty fine melodic black metal. Blasting drums, rasping vocals and uptempo riffs, along with requisite melodic guitar refrains (of course), are greedily consumed. Follow-up dittie 'What Light Covers Not" follows suit, but finds the band stretching out a bit with an elongated conclusion utilizing a hypnotizing guitar refrain that is intermittently interrupted by hoarse screams reminding you that this is a black metal release, dammit.

The following "Opening The Shells Of Spreading Chaos" throws a slight curveball as it settles into a more straight-forward blasting BM style. Punishing. However, what follows comes as a total surprise; "In The Thoughtless Black Light" being a fully formed, pretty close-to-six-minute acoustic track with a repetitive guitar refrain over which faux-Flemenco lead work is placed. Mesmerizing.

"The Making Will Not Be Committed" and "Following Vama Marga" jar the listener back to a blackened reality though, again mixing brutality and melody in an enticing concoction. "Kingdom of the Absent One" closes out the release, providing another acoustic respite.

Downcross have succeeded in creating a unique sound for themselves on this sophomore full length. What Light Covers Not just so happens to be one of the best black metal releases of the year. So good in fact, that I have been forced to go back and check out their Mysteries Of The Left Path debut (issued in February earlier this year).

(8.5)

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