Lichborne sound like the devil himself crafted a metal record on their 2018 release In Brightness Shadows Loom, and it’s perfect. The band blends an almost symphonic, perhaps familiar black metal cinema with brutal soul crushing noise in a thrilling unholy marriage. The record drags the listener along a metaphorical rocky expanse, with each step cutting into their skin that much more, but somehow, there’s a plane above the pain to be reached through Lichborne’s newest record.
The angular, noisy wall of deathly brutality hardly ever faces nullification, but pressing play on In Brightness Shadows Loom allows the listener to assume a place of power over a crushing cloud of pain they might not have even known was there. The band unleashes their onslaught via their music as much as via any of the lyrics that are screamed out; in so doing they’ve sailed right past some constraints that more traditional, mainstream metal might face. In those cases, there’s sometimes a feeling that yes, a song contains a nice riff, but there’s little easily apparent sense to the riffing without the lyrics. The music just kind of sits there.
Lichborne, though, doesn’t leave the listener guessing or wondering. They take the listener and throw them headfirst into the long running maelstrom they’ve tapped into. This panoply of sound feels all encompassing, overwhelming the entirety of the listener and sending them off floating along down a blackened ancient sea.
This sea, though, isn’t smooth. The band’s sound maintains a harsh, grating edge, as exemplified in part through the deathly but fitting and welcomed vocals. Lichborne sound as though they’ve zeroed in on turning a massive harshness into epic music, really. They’re not dissonant mathcore or anything like that — one has (at least a little bit of) breathing space in the band’s songs. They’re not more straight up noise, either. They’ve introduced, though, some of the sensibilities that make those more blatantly dissonant styles great into huge metal and it works well.
In Brightness Shadows Loom careens wildly atop a huge expanse, and it’s thrilling for every second.
Check it out via Realm & Ritual on Bandcamp below.