Monday, 26 February 2018

Eigenlicht - Self-Annihilating Consciousness

Labels: Gilead Media/I, Voidhanger Records
Formats: CD/Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 16 Feb 2018


1. There Lies Already The Shadow Of Annihilation
2. Hagia Sophia
3. Labrys
4. The Deifugal Force
5. Berserker

It's scary to think that it's almost been three years since I first featured Olympia (Washington, USA) black metal band Eigenlicht on here. How time flies! The quartet has recently released it's first full-length via both Gilead Media and I, Voidhanger Records. The 2015 EP "Sacral Regicide" was a mere hint at what the band could achieve on a larger format and finally they are given this chance by two fantastic labels. "Self-Annihilating Consciousness" is sprawled across both cd (I, Voidhanger Records) and 2 LP's, both hewn in gold or black wax (Gilead Media).

Eigenlicht has always been very adept at weaving atmosphere into their music. There Lies Already The Shadow Of Annihilation is a very short instrumental opener, featuring droning feedback and traditional flute melodies. Hagia Sofia is the record’s first long-player and initially it’s very doom-like. Again, it contains traditional instrumentation and it’s slow to build. When the vocals kick in, they’re low growls that remind you more of doom/death. They sit well amongst the atmospheric instrumentation but it’s only when the harsher and higher-pitched screams start that you realise there’s more to Eigenlicht than just slow, meandering heaviness. The clean singing is chant-like and haunting, and the band doesn’t believe in instant gratification for the listener, instead preferring to progress slowly and with musical touches that aren’t always present within black metal. It’s only towards the end of the song that they choose to unleash a more obvious black metal approach. 

I suppose that just calling this a black metal album is way off the mark, as it’s a lot more varied and experimental for that narrow classification, though Labrys appears more straightforward. It sounds more orchestral and majestic, which for a band that doesn’t call themselves a symphonic black metal band, is quite an achievement. The moments of off-kilter mayhem later in the song takes it in a completely different direction for a little while, though it never loses it’s musicality. Spacey keyboard ambience paints a subtly dramatic picture on Deifugal Force. It is heard over the guitars and at times is quire menacing. At around the two-minute mark it gives way to another bout of off-kilter guitar work and slow percussion. This is the record’s longest song and it definitely feels as though Eigenlicht has upped the experimental textures somewhat. It’s a glorious piece of music that is both harrowing and transfixing, even in it’s quietest moments. 

Ending with Berserker, Eigenlicht takes a slightly more laid back approach but there’s still a sense that they could flair up at any moment. Flair up they do, though only relatively briefly. Their black metal blueprint sounding as brilliant as ever. “Self-Annihilating Consciousness” is a record that may demand repeat listens, but one that will reward you with it’s enchanting and sprawling musical textures. Eigenlicht has certainly stepped it up on this full-length and are a band that stand out as one’s to pay close attention to. Great stuff. 

You can stream "Self-Annihilating Consciousness" and purchase it digitally via Eigenlicht's bandcamp page below:-

You can buy physical cd and vinyl copies from the releasing labels below:-

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