PICK OF THE WEEK: Eigenlicht’s path to enlightenment powers debut opus ‘Self-Annihilating…’

There are probably a lot of people who don’t listen to metal simply to be enlightened. That’s understandable. We want riffs, brah. But that’s not all the genre has to offer the world. Some artists push into other realms and work to transform themselves and inform their music with that journey. It might not take with every listener, but it’s refreshing to have that approach out there.

Olympia, Wash.-based band Eigenlicht (WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT PROMO SHOT?!) are of the breed of artist who are not just bringing you a collection of music to soundtrack your drive or to help you fuck off at the gym. Just reading through the bio materials that accompany their astonishing debut record “Self-Annihilating Consciousness” (released by Gilead Media and I, Voidhanger) can be a little intimidating, maybe even to the point of questioning whether you want to take this journey. The band—vocalist/guitarist Ray Hawes, guitarist Yianna Bekris, keyboard player/flute player/ vocalist Mara Winter, and drummer J. DeLacy—talks of weathering failures, standing and staring failure in the face, and committing oneself to the void, defeated. Yet, they stretch beyond that and refuse to succumb. Each member walked a separate path toward the natural world and achieved a better understanding of existence and a greater grasp on knowledge. It sounds like a team of dark superheroes finally finding each other in the chasm and working toward something that expands their existence, spiritually and physically, and pouring every ounce of that into their music. That music is tough to pin down, but it’s an intoxicating blend of doom, with traces of death and black metal.

“There Lies Already the Shadow of Annihilation” is the intro cut that leads us into the full body, a track comprised of eerie noises, flutes setting you into a trance, and woodsy, atmospheric drone that leads toward 13:43 “Hagia Sophia.” The hypnosis continues here, as melodies enrapture, and organs swirl around that. The track ignites, as growls bubble, and a sorrowful pace leads the way to further anguish. The pace bleeds and then gets calm, as organs echo and tease serenity before a final blast and a frenetic pace entangles. “Labrys” is 11:52 and immediately kicks in with strong riffs and dark spirits. Wild howls mix with guitars wailing, as we head into a crazed fury, only balanced by the cosmic synth clouds. Noise stings, and then humidity sets in, as the band hammers away and even begins to hit the gas pedal. The guitars spit doomy fog, while the piece is completely deconstructed, coming to a slow, dreary end.

“Deifugal Force” runs 13:25, as orchestral synth and B-movie sci-fi effects combine with guitars welling up and a deep sense of murk, and a blast of spacious playing comes out of that. The shadows only grow thicker, sending your mind on a trip, and then the thing explodes about 5 minutes in. Shrieks meet up with gurgling growls, and then the punishment rolls on into heavy blasts. The band continues to unload before the sounds briefly fade before re-emerging into harshness, loops, bells, and a long finish that leaves you exhausted. Closer “Berserker” has a sweltering opening before organs flood, lowering temperatures, which sets the stage for the unexpected: an all-out black metal-style assault. Growls bury you, as atmosphere and chaos join forces, and a brief clean passage acts as a bridge toward the next thunderous storm. Echoing roars and a mystifying onslaught push the song into its back end, and just as the eruption reaches its zenith, it pulls back its might and dissolves into an ocean of sounds.

The five movements that are laid out before you on “Self-Annihilating Consciousness” will not affect you like a run with whatever death or black metal band you seek for letting out your aggression. Eigenlicht have a higher purpose for themselves and, if you choose to commit yourself to the cause, you as well. These songs get inside your head and cause a mental transformation as this record travels through your bloodstream, and each time you return, you get to understand the purpose better and can see how taking your own path of understanding can help enrich your own existence.

For more on the band, go here: https://eigenlicht-metal.bandcamp.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/self-annihilating-consciousness

Or here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/

And here: http://i-voidhanger.com/