Doom / death doesn’t begin to cover it… with roots in the darkest elements of metal – merging slabs of stately doom-laden heaviness, aggressive punches and wrapped in an atmosphere most foul borne from gothic influences.
The sound of Candlemass and Celtic Frost being tortured in the most bloodied and eldritch ways; of Portal and Immolation being forced to stare deep in reflection at the core of their own soul. Grief Symposium are the uncomfortable musical vortex that captures all of this. Raised on the greatest of UK metal traditions of the Peaceville and Earache greats, yet imbued with contemporary power and influences, the morose heart of “…In The Absence of Light” beats darkly. Unafraid of that which juxtaposes with the darkness, Grief Symposium revel in the compositions and marries the musical and lyrical journey. This is not a straightforward, or easy listening experience that awaits.
“We seek to bring a darkness of a different kind in our death metal” begins vocalist Sjt. “A poetry that exists fleetingly in this disgusting, horrible music we love. We seek to bring these elements together. Reflection, articulation, atmosphere, dynamic immersion and imposing, uncomfortable, powerful music.
“…In The Absence of Light” is meant to be a striking monument of metal music at its heaviest, but it also thrives on pushing unnecessary boundaries. We grew up with the explorations of Anathema and My Dying Bride, with the alternative avenues death metal could crawl and maneuver down, and we have no intentions of limiting ourselves. We can blast, we can grind, but we revel in bringing to life stories and journeys through the medium of horrible, crushing monolithic music, whichever left hand paths they need to ooze down.”
The first taste of “…In The Absence of Light” comes in the sickening mutated form of ‘Veil of Transformation.’ Although the shortest, punchiest song on the opus magnificus, ‘Veil of Transformation’ in equal parts rips, oozes, violates, sprawls and destroys, fusing a death metal fury with a crushing and stately evolution.
Sjt reveals “‘…In The Absence of Light’ could, perhaps should, have a sub-title of ‘The Anatomy of a Decision.’ For the first time, I’ve allowed lyrics to explore personal topics and experiences. Thoughts and ideas are still obscured behind metaphors and poetic language, though no longer are they hidden behind an additional layer of fiction or story.
“…In The Absence of Light” explores fundamental and significant personal decisions – the context, the evaluation, the outcomes and the consequences and ruminations; deconstructing those, on the surface, trivial and unseen moments, yet reflecting the value, gravity and impact of them. We always have a choice, and yet small decisions can have the most life-changing ramifications.
“The words are but a small part of a flawed, savage vision. A vision of brutality, morbidity and charnel power, a sick and stark picture painted by the dark, imperial, monolithic tones that impact most vividly. The words for ‘Veil of Transformation’ open the Repentance chapter of the album; that acceptance of the prior, and that commitment to a change, to taking things into a state of new, different, other. Whatever that may mean.”
Read our review here.