All the way back in 1999, Ebony Lake released an album that would go on to be a cult classic of sorts in the avant-metal community; entitled On the Eve of the Grimly Inventive, the twisted and grim style of experimental metal shown here by Ebony Lake was revolutionary given the time period. Unfortunately, the act disbanded shortly after the release of their debut, and it wasn't until 2011 that we got to hear more material from the English collective. It is excellent that Ebony Lake decided to get back in the studio and create some more music, though, because In Swathes of Brooding Light is a damn good album if you're into this style of music. Dark, experimental, and downright creepy at times, In Swathes of Brooding Light is not an album for everybody, but those with an open mind should find a lot to enjoy here.
Those familiar with Ebony Lake's classic debut should expect something similar from In Swathes of Brooding Light; if you're less acquainted with the band, their style resides somewhere between black metal and death metal with lots of gothic and avant-garde overtones. The act's English heritage shines through brightly as influences from early Cradle of Filth and My Dying Bride are plentiful throughout this observation, but the band generally sounds like the evil and demented cousin of Unexpect. Ebony Lake's eclectic and grim approach to avant-garde metal could make In Swathes of Brooding Light's 65 minute playing time too demanding, and although the album will take a few listens to completely sink in, the compositions are clearly the product of talented musicians. In Swathes of Brooding Light is one of those few albums that manages to be both incredibly dense and complex while still retaining a solid level of memorability - that's the mark of some excellent composers in my opinion, and the expertly crafted arrangements and fittingly bleak production are like icing on the cake.
In Swathes of Brooding Light is admittedly not an album for every occasion - I can only put this on when I'm in the right mood - but it scratches my itch for twisted and dark avant-garde music every time such a craving arises. Ebony Lake has returned from an extended slumber with an observation that should satisfy all of their existing fans, and hopefully get them some new ones as well. Any devout listener of avant-metal owes it to themselves to hear this haunting and nightmarish album - you won't regret it!
1. And From the Seas the Sickening Things (4:16)
2. I Painted the Suicide of Neptune (7:01)
3. The Curious Cave of Deformities (4:41)
4. In Swathes of Brooding Light Skeletal Birds Scratch at Broken Windows (5:50)
5. Human Mannequin Puppeteer (1:45)
6. Licking at the Nesting's of Young Fledglings (9:55)
7. Amethyst Lung Concerto (5:49)
8. Within Deepest Red (The Opening Of..) (9:48)
9. The Theory of Sexual Carvings (6:01)
10. A Voice in the Piano (10:24)