A little online research revealed that The Continuum Hypothesis is Epoch of Unlight's third album. The band has existed in various forms under different names for over 15 years. I haven't heard their previous releases, but The Continuum Hypothesis features new vocalist B.J. Cook (Fallen Empire) who does a fairly good job. The vocals on the album are reminiscent of early 90's Swedish bands playing in a thrash/death style. Comparisons could be drawn to bands like The Haunted and the first Hypocrisy album. Cook mostly screams the lyrics throughout the entire disc -- he has a half-yelling and half-growling kind of delivery. Besides the Swedish screamers, track 8, "Aberrant Shadows", recalls Devin Townsend doing his maniacal high screams over meticulously arranged guitar harmonies. That said, Cook's singing, as the music itself, is a bit one-dimensional, rarely trying something different.
The End Records suggests that Epoch of Unlight is recommended for fans of Kreator, Heartwork-era Carcass, At the Gates and early Dark Tranquillity. Somehow I feel the need to mention references to Lunaris' Cyclic album (without the technical edge) and perhaps Darkane as well. The highlight of the album is, without doubt, drummer Tino LoSicco. LoSicco has written the music and lyrics for all the songs and takes on a definitive role here. The tunes are driven by his pounding rhythm work mixed with odd meters. Joe Totty on bass and Josh Braddock on guitar play around LoSicco's technically challenging drum patterns. The bass is hardly audible, except on the breakdown of the song "Cardinality", which also features an impressive drum solo. Other than that, the bass functions as a complement to the drumming -- it provides a fuller rhythm sound.
Braddock plays raw guitar rhythms, occasionally in a thrash metal vein. There is an excellent riff on "Argentum Era Secui Duos" before the acoustic section that is bound to make you headbang. "Highgate" is a personal favourite because of its dark intro, violent
main riff and smooth guitar harmony. There aren't many guitar solos on the CD; but they're far from absent. It's just that Epoch of Unlight impresses more with
their subtle rhythm work rather than technically superior instrumental sections.
The one problem with the CD is that it offers little variety. It is pretty straightforward in style; all songs usually start with fierce guitar riffage developed around LoSicco's forceful drum fills and Cook's brutal vocals. Besides the brief bass line on "Quicksilver to Ash" and the acoustic riff on the aforementioned "Argentum Era Secui Duos", all the
songs seem standard. They are solid songs, however. Co-produced by noted engineer Erin Farley (Agnostic Front, Overkill), the sound quality is great. Farley also does backing vocals on one song. The melodic parts, particularly on "The End of All", really come through displaying an early Dark Tranquillity-ish vocal melody; or the insanely fast double bass drum on "Broken Pendulum" is going to please metalheads for sure. I have to mention that the artwork is the best part of it all though -- an excellent cover art with
twisted imagery, lyrics, song credits and band photo.
1. The Continuum Hypothesis
2. Under Starside Skies
3. Argentum Era Secui Duos
6. The End of All
7. Broken Pendulum
8. Aberrant Shadows
9. Quicksilver to Ash
11. The Scarlet Thread