Wednesday 2 May 2018

Light This City - Terminal Bloom

Labels: Creator-Destructor Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 25 May 2018


1. Reality In Disarray
2. A Grotesque Reflection
3. Dormant Tide
4. Terminal Bloom
5. Death Downwind
6. Agents Of Fate
7. Extinguished
8. The Wake Of My Will
9. Neverlanding
10. Wildheart

If you’d have told me at the start of the year that I'd be reviewing the first record in a decade from one of the most revered modern melodic death metal bands to come out of the US in years, I probably would've laughed at you, but here I am. San Fran's Light This City left us (or so we thought) in 2008 after the release of their fourth full-length "Stormchaser". They've now returned with new record "Terminal Bloom", which is due for release via Creator-Destructor Records on May 25th. What a time to be alive!

We’re already into May and music-wise this year just keeps on getting better. This new release from Light This City may not have been the year’s best kept secret, but it’s still worthy of all of the attention it’s getting. When a band comes back after a decade, you’re never quite sure what you’re gonna get and as the album opener Reality In Disarray begins with glorious acoustic guitar melodies, it deceives a little. When the full band opens up things become clearer and the majesty that is Light This City is laid bare, in all of it’s thrashing, death metal glory. Laura Nichol’s vocals sounding mighty, while guitarists Steve Hoffman and Ryan Hansen battle it out with duelling leads and crushing rhythms, and bassist Jon Frost and drummer Ben Murray take care of the rhythm section with aplomb. This record contains a valuable lesson for all of those bands who’ve tried to “reinvent” melodic death metal over recent years. It proves that formulas done right are perfect. 

A Grotesque Reflection is both catchy as hell and instantly recognisable as coming from a band that truly means business again. The thrash metal I eluded to earlier is more than present in the galloping tempos of Dormant Tide. It reminds me of the first time I listened to Trivium’s “Ascendancy” (not musically but emotionally). The title-track has a stomping brutality to it and while it might not be “uber-technical”, it doesn’t need to be. The intensity that Light This City puts into their music is more than enough to get you banging your head. Death Downwind provides a moment of respite that brings to mind so many great metalcore instrumentals from back in the day (sorry). As the second half of “Terminal Bloom” kicks in with Agents Of Fate, so does the insane kick-drumming. Aside from the instrumental awesomeness, I’m reminded of why I could never get into Arch Enemy. If Angela Gossow’s vox had sounded anything like Laura’s, AE might’ve stood a chance with me. Not sure why I put that last sentence in this review, but you'll understand what I mean when you hear the record. 

There’s no time to get sidetracked while listening to this record, as no sooner has Agents Of Fate finished that Extinguished is tearing you a new one. It’s urgency befits the song-length and the fact that they manage to stick a great solo in as well just sweetens the deal. Their quality just increases with The Wake Of My Will. A full band working in unison to make the best melodic death metal, period. Talking of death metal, there’s more than an old-school feel to penultimate song Neverlanding, which adds to the spectacle and enjoyment here. You’ve probably worked out by now that I’m pretty impressed with this record, but this might just be the catalyst I needed to truly regain the fire and passion for heavy music that I though I’d lost of late. As Wild Heart brings “Terminal Bloom” to a close it truly hammers home just how must of a complete record this is. It’s impact will be massive this year, even if it’s only felt within underground circles. Light This City deserves greater recognition though. It’s like they never left us. Fucking awesome.

You can stream both "A Grotesque Reflection" and the album's "title-track" via Creator-Destructor Records below:-

It's available for digital and physical pre-order from the above bandcamp page as well.

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