DESTROYER OF LIGHT – Mors Aeterna

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: http://www.argonautarecords.com
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mors-Aeterna-Destroyer-Light/dp/B07Q6RLXN2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=DESTROYER+OF+LIGHT+-+Mors+Aeterna&qid=1557224881&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/

Band line-up:

Steve Colca: guitar/vocals
Keegan Kjeldsen: guitar
Penny Turner: drums
Nick Coffman: bass

Tracklisting:

1. Overture Putrefactio
2. Dissolution
3. Afterlife
4. The Unknown
5. Falling Star
6. Burning Darkness
7. Pralaya’s Hymn
8. Loving the Void
9. Into the Abyss10. Eternal Death

Review:

Destroyer of Light are a Texan doom rock band, formed in 2012. They will be releasing their third full length release, ‘Mors Aeterna’ on May 24th through Argonauta Records. It is a concept album about a man who passes away and journeys through the underworld. There are ups and downs, but in the end he is destined to suffer there till the end of time. (Mors Aeterna means Eternal Death). The group have been influenced by the theatrical Mercyful Fate, the ominous Electric Wizard and the feral Sleep. 

For doom, this music is relatively chilled out and not as depressing as you might expect. It has a stoner vibe to it. The singer’s voice is strong both in power and quality, and is far from raging or miserable. His mental health seems to be reasonably good condition. The riffs are muddy in a Black Sabbath way, but they’re often not quite as heavy. Having said that, sometimes they are pretty aggressive. When the guitars go for a dual harmony attack, sometimes there is maybe something about the note choices that doesn’t sound 100% ‘natural’, but most fans wouldn’t care at all. This isn’t classical music. What’s worse is the fact some guitar parts are a little standard and lacking in creativity. 

The album begins with ‘Putrefactio’, a morbid, one minute long piano and church organ (I think) piece. In terms of tone, it is a little incongruent with the following material, setting up expectations that aren’t really fulfilled, but its unusual nature does grab the listener’s attention. What follows that, is ‘Dissolution’, the first true song on the album in the stoner style just described. ‘Afterlife’ comes next, which has many of the same characteristics, but certainly not in a boring and repetitive way.

‘The Unknown’ is 30 seconds longer than the opener and is a thoughtful and mysterious synthesiser piece that sounds like it’s from an ambient black metal band. If this wasn’t a deep concept album with a clear sense of story, most would question why it was included on the LP, but even when the album is understood, it’s still kind of strange, especially as most songs feature no keys at all. If atmospheric guitars, vocals and drums were added to the mix, maybe things would have been improved. With upcoming track ‘Falling Star’, everything is back to normal, but the song ends with relaxing clean guitars and harmonics. As the style isn’t totally different to the first songs, the musical tones and devices work much better. 

There is more more cleanness with ‘Burning Darkness’, but maybe it could have been milked a bit more for the sake of variety and originality. The lyrics ‘I’m in Hell’ are a bit literal and come across as silly. More creativity is desperately needed there, but most words fortunately don’t stand out quite as much. ‘Pralaya’s Hymn’ is another mini instrumental, this time 2 minutes long. The synths heard before have mainly been replaced with pianos again, but as you may now expect, for them to work, they really should appear more in the music.

‘Loving the Void’ returns to the muddy style, but its interesting psychedelic and slightly jazzy harmony is a welcome breath of fresh air. ‘Into the Abyss’ is another one and a half minute piece without vocals, this time mainly played with a guitar. It’s certainly more effective than the previous three. The album’s final track features more of the same doom, but this time a little heavier. It ends with violins playing to a piano, which for the last time is perhaps too unexpected. Maybe the jumping around of unusual instruments represents different parts of a journey and alternating states of mind, but there are better, simpler ways to achieve such a goal.

In conclusion, DoL seem to be trying a bit too hard in places and have come up with some ideas that just sound out of place. As just mentioned, the instrumentation can be explained, but not all will get it. The musicianship isn’t bad but at the same time it’s not exactly amazing to listen to. Blues rock guitar solos are attempted but they lack confidence, passion and general skill. The drums are fine for what they are – heavy and plodding – but are just a tiny bit out of time in places. However, that does give the music a human quality that may be desirable to some. On the whole the album isn’t bad, but not much of it stands out as genuinely memorable. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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