Predatory Light deliver smeary chaos amid a panicked world on ‘Death and the Twilight Hours’

Oh fuck, he’s going to talk about the pandemic again. How much mileage is he going to get out of this? If you think you’re tired of me leading with that, imagine how I feel? I’m tired. But it is what it is, and there’s really a good reason for this today, and I’d say there have been a lot of justifiable diversions we’ve taken toward plague because we are living in the arms of death.

Southwestern black metal force Predatory Light are not backing off a disease that’s spreading the earth and mutating, and they lean hard into the eyes of horrors on their long-awaited second record “Death and the Twilight Hours,” their first for 20 Buck Spin. Their celebration of death and fear amid times of pestilence are woven through these four tracks, or hymns as they call them, and the band—guitarist/vocalist L.S., guitarist/organist K.M., bassist D.J., drummer D.M., all members of the band Superstition—is fully immersed in the terror and anxiety that accompany invisible assassins that can show up at your door when you least expect it. The music is strange and ghostly, a perfect representation of the art on the Giovanni Boccaccio cover that should cause you to cower in fear of the unknown.

“The Three Living and the Three Dead” is the 13:47-long opener, starting with chilling vibes and carrying into guitar echo and then a ferocious spray of harsh cries. The playing is hypnotic and blistering, causing disorientation, and atmospheric heat precedes the band stampeding again, angling into steamy guitar work and hazy confusion. Doomy fury mixes with strange mists before the pace kicks back in, pushing everything to a gusting finish. “Wracked by Sacred Fires” teases with riffs and scathing vocals, the playing spindling and making the room spin. Growls smear as your brain is consumed by clouds, the guitars spiral and jolt, and speeds zaps in and ends in savagery.

The title track runs a healthy 11:20, and it twists the knobs and attempts to rewire your mind, the bass slithering through the murk. Leads turn through the cosmos as a strange aura welcomes cold guitars that raise your flesh, and things get gnarlier and more unhinged. A huge finger-tapped guitar assault consumes, the band thrashes wildly, and L.S. vows, “The kingdom of death has come!” amid the flurry of punishment. “To Plead Like Angels” closes the album and also plays games with your psyche, sweeping insanity swallowing you whole. The vocals feel like a knife through flesh, the guitars steam and wilt, and then things speed up to a relentless level, pushing vicious chaos into a sound haze, the cloud cover consuming all and leaving everything in darkness.

We still exist in the fist of plague, no matter what some may think foolishly, and Predatory Light feast on that terrifying, negative energy on “Death and the Twilight Hours.” Its presence is like a phantasm worming its way into your mind. We’ve all lived in the face of pestilence and fear, and our lives have been impacted forever. This record is a harsh reminder that death is ever present, it can’t be defeated, and it will continue its reign until we’re all gone for good.

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