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Eclipser’s “Cruel Is the Light to Thee” Casts Darkness Upon the Lands


Although it may sound odd, black metal is a genre heavily influenced by geography. Unlike some other subgenres and variants of heavy metal, black metal’s essence is intrinsically linked with the terrain in which it was conceived, as evidenced by movements such as Scandinavia’s frigid second-wave, or the Pacific Northwest’s meditative and verdant Cascadian black metal. It therefore comes as no surprise that some of the world’s most soul-piercing and truly despairing entries into the genre come from the bleak forests of Canada, a nation that infuses its material with a chilling stoicism inspired by formidably dark and grueling winters.

As of late, the Canadian scene has been propagating a notable level of impressive up-and-coming artists trying their hand at these dark and blasphemous arts. Emerging from the nation’s capital city of Ottawa, occultist black metal acolytes Eclipser have returned from their first grand adventure into the extreme and esoteric depths of the genre bearing Pathos, their nightmarishly transcendent debut full-length. With a vile atmosphere of misanthropy, the record heralds philosophies of abysmal strife and the futility of the human condition. This all becomes apparent on “Cruel is the Light to Thee,” the fifth track from the album that we’re premiering below.

As stated by guitarist/vocalist Ryan Menard, this is “a song about enlightenment through self-immolation.” Though it may seem uncanny, “Cruel Is the Light to Thee” encapsulates the simultaneous searing pain and release from suffering that such an act incurs upon its victim. Galloping into a frenzy of tremolo riffs and blast beats, the song launches the listener headlong into Eclipser’s cataclysmic mire of densely layered aural chaos — rather than choosing to completely obscure their compositions in static and fuzz, though, Eclipser leave just enough clarity in their soul-shattering barrage of sound to allow a glimpse of the soaring melodies and cavernous structures in which its five members maneuver.

Of this band’s many layers, their vocals are perhaps the most haunting and ungodly element: shrill, disturbing shrieks diverge from inhuman guttural lows to form a sort of infernal harmony that jarringly punctuates the pulsating wall of noise surrounding it.

Despite its jangling timbre and dissonant tonalities, “Cruel Is the Light to Thee” evokes a sort of derelict, ironic sense of triumph in the face of the mounting despair in which it is steeped. This glimmer of light within suffocating chasms of darkness rears its head as the twisted melodicism of Christian Beaupre’s gothic guitar solo unfurls its serpentine passages in the track’s final moments. Within the context of Pathos as a whole, this piece stands out because of its inverse approach to the mood and atmosphere Eclipser intends to create. In the words of Ryan Menard, “Pathos was written to invoke a sense of dismay and gloom, especially from a lyrical standpoint. ‘Cruel Is the Light to Thee’ stands out as the exception.” In this track, Eclipser experiments with extracting hopeful, victorious sentiments from dungeons of misery, a method that stands in stark contrast to their usual technique of smothering all signs of light.

Pathos releases September 6th via Noise Salvation Records.

Photo credit: Anndy Negative
Photo credit: Anndy Negative

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