Review & Track Premiere: Destroyer of Light, Chamber of Horrors

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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[Click play above to stream ‘Lux Crusher’ by Destroyer of Light from Chamber of Horrors, out July 14 via Heavy Friends Records.]

The last couple years have apparently done much to hone the focus of Austin, Texas’ Destroyer of Light. Chamber of Horrors is the third full-length from the four-piece and their first standalone outing since 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, which was followed by the 2015 Endsville split/collaboration LP (video premiere here) with Godhunter, and its seven tracks mark a significant turn of approach and mood. This could well be the result of heavy touring undertaken since Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 came out, but it feels like a conscious decision one way or the other, and as guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Jeff Klein and drummer Penny Turner elicit their most directed and longest offering yet at 44 minutes, they also find themselves holed up in a doomed swamp befitting the Adam Burke cover art, otherworldly and ruinous as it is.

Patiently and with purpose, they roll out massive grooves like that of 10-minute closer “Buried Alive” or the preceding “Prisoner of Eternity,” on which Colca‘s vocal cadence and the march in general seems to be in direct conversation with Sweden’s Goatess more than the brash heavy rock Destroyer of Light offered on their previous outings. Flourish of organ in that track, guest vocals and samples on “The Virgin” and ambient pieces like the intro “Whispers into the Threshold” and the centerpiece/presumed side B opener “Twilight Procession” add depth and complexity to the morose vibe, and a mix by Matt Meli of Austin’s Orb Recording Studios sets up a suitable abyss into which the band can feel free to plummet. And plummet they do. Gloriously.

The first grim claw is raised not long after “Whispers into the Threshold” begins with a sample of a creaky, heavy-wood door opening into an echoing room and likewise echoing guitar (also actual whispers). It’s worth noting that at the end of “Buried Alive,” there’s a corresponding shutting of that door, and one assumes that’s the band putting their audience in the titular Chamber of Horrors. So be it. That bookend is one more example of the kind of cohesion and attention to detail Destroyer of Light bring to their third album, and the songwriting holds up to a similar standard, whether it’s the mournful wail of lead guitar and earlier shouts turning to moans in the second half of “Into the Smoke” that set the stage for more of what’s to come later or the more direct horror-worship of “The Virgin,” which with its guest vocals alongside Colca and even more dramatic take is something of an outlier in the tracklist, despite the engaging flow that’s already been crafted between the first two songs and which continues throughout. It’s almost as though, after years of being called a doom band, Destroyer of Light decided to turn around and become one.

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It suits them. The devil himself shows up on “The Virgin,” which almost feels like it was bound to happen somewhere along the line, and amid spacious lead guitar, the band unfurl an accordingly resonant melody and percussive thud to lead into the first creeper verse of an effective linear build. As with “Into the Smoke,” they’re telling a story. I don’t know if Chamber of Horrors would or should be considered a concept record, but it’s definitely thematic, and there’s a clear intent in the way it plays out piece by piece. A somewhat minimalist weaving of two guitar lines over a subtle dirge of drumming takes hold with “Twilight Procession,” and almost before the listener realizes what’s happened, Destroyer of Light have constructed a momentum that’s carried them through side A without misstep.

It’s one thing for a group to grow into a new sound. It’s another for them to arrive at it sounding already so well schooled in the tenets of the style and so readily knowledgeable about which rules they want to abide by and which they want to break. As they touch on post-Electric Wizard riffing to start “Lux Crusher” in a way that mirrors somewhat the progression at the outset of “Into the Smoke,” it again makes clear the level of nuance to which Destroyer of Light are playing, and though, as noted, “Lux Crusher” calls to mind the righteous swaying Vitusism of Goatess especially in Colca‘s vocal approach, the band bring this influence into their own sonic context, harsher shouts emerging as they roll toward the track’s chugging, feedback-laden conclusion and into its six-minute companion-piece “Prisoner of Eternity,” which begins with rim taps from Turner and clean-sounding guitar before its full rumble kicks in, signaling the end is near. Like “The Virgin,” “Prisoner of Eternity” centers more around its hook, but the addition of organ beneath and around its guitar solo adds an even more classic feel. That’s fair game for Destroyer of Light at this point, because with the 10-minute “Buried Alive,” which follows and rounds out, they engage an entirely different level of doomly traditionalism.

With perhaps the boldest take on clean vocals out front to start, “Buried Alive” reinterprets an ambience that brings to mind The Gates of Slumber, and though they’ll move into more extreme growls and a wash of noise before they’re done, the lumbering misery of their finale never gets lost in the slow-motion cacophonous melee that ensues. Once again, they cap with feedback before that door closes, and though it’s hard to know from the context of the audio whether we’re trapped in the Chamber of Horrors or we’ve managed to escape, one way or the other, the album makes a lasting and colorful impression such that, even if we’re out, we’re not unaffected by what’s been witnessed within. It’s not the most dramatic sonic turn that’s ever taken place — that is, Destroyer of Light had elements of doom even at their most psychedelic moments, and they have elements of psych here even at their most doomed — but Chamber of Horrors nonetheless represents a brazen reset on the band’s part and whether they continue to walk along this bleak path or head elsewhere aesthetically, what they’ve accomplished in pulling off the shift in these brave and willfully dismal tracks is not to be understated.

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Destroyer of Light Announce Chamber of Horrors Due July 14; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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I’m digging the organ-soaked doomliness of this new Destroyer of Light track for sure. The Austin-based outfit have spent the last few years ping-ponging their way back and forth around the US supporting their Endsville split LP (video premiere here) with Arizona’s Godhunter, as well as their Bizarre Tales Vol.2014 full-length on Heavy Friends Records, but they’re or sure due for a new one, and it seems like the upcoming Chamber of Horrors is bringing about something of a shift in sound. Maybe. I wouldn’t necessarily count on the track “Prisoner of Eternity,” which you can stream below, to speak for the whole of the new record, but like I said, I’m digging it. You wouldn’t find me complaining.

The PR wire brings art (is that you, Adam Burke?), info and audio, as is its custom:

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DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Austin quartet to unearth Chamber of Horrors this July | Stream and share new song ‘Prisoner of Eternity’

Chamber of Horrors by Destroyer of Light is released on 14th July 2017 via Heavy Friends Records

Hailing from Austin, TX, harbingers of doom Destroyer of Light are no idlers. Within a year of forming in 2012 and with little mind to wait around, the heavy-as-hell/louder-than-war quartet released their self-titled EP themselves and in doing so kick started what would became an ongoing DIY endeavor driven by huge riffs, hallowed tales and endless road journeys.

No matter which rock you look under there’s no hiding the fact that the band is heavily indebted to the darker side of stoner metal and everything that goes along with it. Bathed in an aural haze and ominous song craft, Destroyer of Light’s music is unmistakably one of grim theatricality and crushing heavy metal dirges. Influences such as Electric Wizard, Mercyful Fate, EYEHATEGOD and Autopsy serve as striking counterpoints to the literary and filmic references they dig up in Wiccan-stalked forests and horror anthologies. Following up on their debut in 2014 with their second release Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, if anyone just so happened to be in any doubt, death and destruction is very much the order of service and confessional sermons are delivered in a constant sea of feedback and percussive right hooks.

This July however Destroyer of Light are primed to unearth their latest album, a haunting and humid foray into the realms of doom rock, aptly titled Chamber of Horrors. Dragging their music into a cavernous basement to experiment freely with underground sounds, listeners are treated to a ritual ear beating and a memorable trip into psychedelic realms unknown.

Chamber of Horrors by Destroyer of Light will be released on 14th July on Heavy Friends Records. 

Destroyer of Light:
Steve Colca – Guitar/Vocals
Jeff Klein – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/

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