Back for their second album CENTURIES release The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding. Taking on a theme of loss and acceptance, and making peace with demons, have the band achieved what they were hoping to?
Title track The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding is an immediate introduction to the monstrous force behind the band. Laden with doom, this is the heaviest side of hardcore punk you’ll come across. A side step into the acoustic has a mesmerising uplift to second track Wooden Hands. Don’t be fooled, however, as the battering is unleashed upon you without warning as the last two thirds of the track bludgeon you around the ears. It’s chugging, malicious music that has a real edge of genuine anger beneath. If you thought this track was ferocious, you’d better sit down for Bygones. Blastbeats unrelenting, guitars throwing big rhythmic riffs like a volcano, vocals never overpowering but brutal in their delivery. it’s a good job this track is only just under two minutes, anymore and we’d all be in trouble.
Soil manages to change the angle and create a more distinct tune, all the while clearly maintaining a consistency with the three other tracks on this album. It’s an impressive effort to make something so distinct, when often this kind of anger can become a muddle of similar sounding tunes. CENTURIES have impressed a grudging punk aura in their music, while infusing the best parts of doom and hardcore in there when the moments count. Most of A Bow Across A String is no exception to this. There’s a tension build in this track, feedback sizzling through the distortion, an itch under it all for something huge to erupt. The push of the drop is worth the wait, but lacks the big crunch you’ve been anticipating in this excellent build. It’s unfortunate too that the last minute and a half of this track – all ambient feedback that honestly sounds like a phone ringing off the line- becomes more like an irritating overstep than a subliminal sonic message, that’s more than likely to be skipped over to get back to the record.
The Climb bring back that low, swooping kind of riff you’re anticipating on this record. Bare vocals that give that desperate and intolerant sound below over the chugging crunch of the bass and guitars, while the drums make excellent work of structuring the track to its full effect. The Endless Descent has potentially the best opening to on the album, giving you time to soak up the moment, the riff, and the barking vocals, and as the melody evolves and grows, allows you to fully immerse yourself into the depths of its structure and might. Brilliantly balanced, swerving and shifting into something more brutal and dangerous, it’s an accomplishment to any band to have produced something so fervent and original.
It’s clear that while this album overall has had very few issues, the latter half is defiantly the stronger. May Love Be With You Always is a simmering delicacy of more subdued motions, a precision of thought more counted than before. The intensity comes not from the high energy, but from the pull back and the containment, before spilling riffs and thunderous pace. The ebb and wave of this tune is a delight, demonstrating a maturity and dexterity to CENTURIES music and their intentions.
Fury, oddly enough for it’s namesake, begins in almost total silence, only building into a cold soundscape with bitter, clean vocals and the reprise of acoustic guitars. It’s an angle that once more reflects the intelligence of this record, that while on the surface, physical anger can be frothing violent, but the deepest, darkest rage shapes itself in the quiet places. The pay off to this track feels more poetic and fluid than anything else on here, and while it might not gel with those wanting that constant, distinct sound that CENTURIES craft, it’s by far the most thoughtful moment on this otherwise wonderfully manic record. Fear not, should you be looking for that climactic ending, for Nul Orietur bears the honour of raising the seas and crushing the mountains. Solid riffs, sublimely laid out, there’s no option here but to submit. There are some great moments throughout this track that make it the perfect conclusion for all the tricks and turns that have made this record stand out.
What CENTURIES has achieved here with The Lights Of This Earth Is Blinding is an album that encompasses complex issues, throwing the very essence of emotion at the listener; rage, violence, depression, loss. But in these tracks, there is unquestionably a catharsis, a feeling of release and understanding, becoming more aware of what has past and what is now. It’s a huge album, with a distinct and absolute sound that hits the mark time and again, with brutal force. If CENTURIES keep on with this level of craft and creativity, they’re headed for great things.
The Lights Of This Earth Is Blinding is set for release on January 26th via Southern Lord Recordings.
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