Eigenlicht – Self-Annihilating Consciousness
Released: February 16th, 2018
Eigenlicht Lineup —
Yianna Bekris // Guitar
Ray Hawkes // Vocals & Guitar
Mara Winter // Vocals & Keyboards
J. DeLacy // Drums
One of the apocryphal things about being in a band is every member brings their experiences, their wants, their needs and their loves to the group, and in doing so creates something more than each individual person could have created alone. A good vocalist is nothing without a good riff, and a good riff is nothing without a good bass line and so on. Nowhere is this more clear than on Eigenlicht’s debut effort Self-Annihilating Consciousness.
Outside of the short opening track, every other is well over ten minutes long, allowing each instrument to take the spotlight and really show off the skill that is behind it. ‘There Lies Already…’ makes use of only the flute and keyboards, evoking thoughts of melodic Falkenbach or Thurisaz, but that’s where the comparisons stop. Every following piece goes through the peaks and valleys of an album in itself; the ambient, quiet low points and the soaring, blackened highs.
The work of J. DeLacy is absolutely exquisite at every level. The quieter moments allow the drums to slow down, becoming more tom oriented. The beginning of ‘Hagia Sophia’ punctuates every slow strum of the guitar with a well placed tom that lifts the listener out of their body and onto the eddying waves of energy that the music creates. This is in stark contrast to ‘Labrys’ where the drums take more of a black metal fury, relying heavily on double kick and cymbals to round out that perfect black metal sound full of crashing and rolling thunder.
However the real star of the album is the duelling vocals of Mara Winter and Ray Hawkes. The feminine, throaty screeching complements the unearthly deepness of the masculine counterpart. ‘Hagia Sophia’ sees the voice of Hawkes being used almost like a bludgeon to the listener; his voice hammers through the music in short blunt bursts that bring about equal parts awe and disorientation. This is unlike Winter’s, whose prolonged screeches send shivers down the spine. It is really the dual use that sets the two off. On my personal favourite ‘Deifugal Force’ both vocalists sit atop the frenetic instrumentation like lords on a throne, directing the blackened fury with their wailing and screaming.
Despite the large amount of wonderful moments on the album, at times it can feel a bit dull. Even though a lot of the synth sounds like it could have been ripped straight from the Rolo Tomassi debut (no complaints here), it often takes away from the momentum of the album. It isn’t until DeLacy kicks back into gear am I interested again. These long protracted periods of quiet are also oddly positioned, feeling less like parts of a song and more like intermissions. The band has intimated their album is largely about the warring differences of light and dark, so it’s a good concept, but it just fails to fully find its place. Yet, it fully works in ‘Berserker’, where every single element finds not only use, it seems to have been building up to this very climax.
Self-Annihilating Consciousness is a wonderful album awash with atmosphere and astounding skill, blending doom infused synth and keyboards with skilful black metal with admirable ease. Eigenlicht have created a journey of absolute blackness and blinding light.
Eigenlicht – Self-Annihilating Consciousness tracklisting —
- There Lies Already the Shadow of Annihilation
- Hagia Sophia
- Deifugal Force