As Light Dies - Gea
Brutal Arratia Records
Atmospheric Progressive Black Metal
4 songs (20'48")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Alex

I have begun my acquaintance with Spanish black avant-gardists As Light Dies sort of from the back, with their latest The Love Album - Volume I. And I am confident that so did many others. Yet before The Love Album appeared to challenge our minds and our senses As Light Dies experimented to find their direction, as manifested by the re-release of the re-mastered EP Gea, originally recorded way back in 2006.

Listening to Gea one might get a feeling of what is to come later, but only in glimpses. Connected by the Earthly topic, naming songs after various names our planet is known by, As Light Dies was a lot closer to the ambient side than they came to be on The Love Album. Opening instrumental Terra and Gaia are very ambient pieces, Terra providing watery synth dissolution with its trembling keys, while Gaia has more full orchestral character with its symphonic arrangements. Sounding a lot like a chamber orchestra previewing a Tchaikovsky-like composition about nature seasons, As Light Dies showcase what probably is their more formal music education.

Title track is where As Light Dies would ultimately arrive a few years later. The band is anything but a clearly defined straightforward style now, and Gea is a showcase of a layered, multiple genre opus. The presence of tender violin (Jesus Villalba) playing against gruff voice of Oscar Martin reminds of gothic metal bands like Tristania and The Sins of Thy Beloved, where the beast is the male voice, while the beauty part is played by the aforementioned violin. When blast and aggression enter the scope around 3’, the vocals switch to a clean Vintersorg-like, yet the famous Swede Oscar Martin is not. Checking back to gothic, going free-form and jazzy at times, the Spaniards make sure violin often remains a focal point.

With the Enslaved cover of As Fire Swept Clean the Earth from Below the Lights As Light Dies openly profess their allegiance, declaring that progressive black metal is where they want to go. The atmospheric parts of the song are really tender and soft, while harsher parts have more delineated cubic riffs than the Norwegians. The band provides their personal touches, like a quick violin lead, maybe even some Spanish whispered words, and even if you don’t recognize As Fire Swetp Clean the Earth as a cover initially, the relistening to the original shows one very important thing. The two are close in spirit, even if they are different in detail. You can close your eyes and soar, imagining the fire cleansing your decrepit fragile habitat underneath.

It is hard to say that it would be interesting to see what the band will provide in the future, as the future is now the recent past, so I can only say that the potential shown on Gea got realized on The Love Album.

Killing Songs :
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by As Light Dies that we have reviewed:
As Light Dies - The Love Album - Volume I reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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