With a moniker lifted from an Enslaved song, and constituted by just two men who've embraced the age-old clichéd black metal tradition of adopting ever so slightly silly pseudonyms - namely Chrisom Infernium and Mephisto Deleterio - Veilburner are a new experimental black/death act from the States. A studio-based project, 'The Three Lighbearers' is their debut offering, and with industrial, fleetingly ambient and quasi-symphonic/filmic elements thrown into the compositional pot, Veilburner are, in one sense, sonic hybridists. However, they're not, for example, the full-on avant-gardists Norwegian duo Solefald are, and continue to be. Far from it. While this American duo combine a heterogeneity of genre elements to good effect within their songs, and have forged arrangements that pertain to a little experimentalism here and there in their changing time signatures and interesting guitar dynamics, this isn't out and out musical iconoclasm. Controlled chaos is perhaps an apt description, as there are enough handles throughout, in their deployment of genre conventions, that the listening experience is never detached in any way. Rather, it's a pretty absorbing one. Albeit one of controlled blackened cacophony with an unsettling subconscious solicitude.
Apart from some despair-fuelled yells and occasional clean singing, lyrics are predominantly delivered through a largely indecipherable, blackened growl. Thus, with no lyrics to hand (the CD has no accompanying booklet), songs' general thematic content, intended meanings, and indubitable metaphorical connotations (I'm presuming 'Masturbating the Obelisk' is not a literal reference), are largely lost. So all the talk in press blurb of Veilburner's "evocative lyrical approach" which was inspired by "Chrisom's interest and research into the occult, theosis, and the idea of manufactured messiahs" is kind of redundant with the absence of comprehensible words or, at the very least, a lyric sheet. It's down, therefore, to the music and affect of the growls to solely deliver Veilburner's intended vibe. And this is where the album shines as it truly feels like being taken on an emotionally dark and melancholic journey. This is made more emphatic by the fact songs segue into each other, so the album is best digested as a whole to appreciate its, no doubt, intended aesthetic and emotional impact. And the emotional impact is incredibly hard-hitting. In that sense, 'The Three Lightbearers' is a somewhat impressive debut for Veilburner. With the writing process for their sophomore album apparently already well under way, I certainly hope they'll be able to build on this most promising of foundations and deliver something even better.
Obscure Divinity Records
THE THREE LIGHTBEARERS
Review by Mark Holmes
19th Dec 2014
1) Gospel of Blood-Stained Void
2) Masturbating the Obelisk
3) In the Constellation of Dust and Shadow
4) Nil Absolute
6) Where the Light Is Death and Darkness Is the Lord
8) Revelations Genesis
9) Stigmatic Levitation
10) Idol Horror
11) Damnation A.D.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...controlled blackened cacophony with an unsettling subconscious solicitude."