From Light to Darkness: a wild joyride into epic and bombastic black metal

Saevitia Monumentum, From Light to Darkness, France, Endless Decrepitude Records, limited edition CD (2016)

So far “From Light to Darkness” is Saevitia Monumentum’s only release and already the band has stamped a distinct if very deranged identity all over the music. The actual music itself is uncomplicated raw aggressive BM but it’s the way the musicians play, the crazed zest the guys put into everything they do that makes it stand out like a thumb just begging over and over for a hammer to smash it down, if that thumb could talk.

Right from the start listeners can guess they’re in for a wild ride with this loony flight crew, crashing and crash-landing their way through raging BM that aspires to the epic and the bombastic. Along the journey death, doom and crushing sludge elements embellish the music and background synthesiser adds a space ambient layer that adds a sense of high opera. Listeners realise quickly that the album is aimed at an audience straddling the edges of underground and commercial mainstream metal, with all songs heavily lyrics-based and not much attention being paid to generating and sustaining particular atmospheres or moods, but the roller-coaster ride is so exhilarating with the multi-voiced SM crew at the flight controls that you want to stay with them right to the end just to see what barmy thing they get up to next.

The music is rock-solid and  fast in delivery, and the musicians have a great time playing and singing, as much to one another as to listeners, to judge from the way the lyrics bounce from one vocalist to the next. The only criticism I’d offer is that the songs aren’t all that different from one another and it’s only when the band reaches the halfway point in the album that the music starts to vary more in style and mood. The cold-space ambience hardly changes for the album’s length and for some songs doesn’t enhance them at all but rather detracts from their aggression. The highlight of the album is the wild and deranged singing which can border on cartoonish and is sometimes a little excessive especially when the lads are taking turns in singing.

As it is, the album serves mainly to introduce Saevitia Monumentum and their particular style of energetic and demented BM, and a good and consistent introduction it is too. Inevitably the musicians will have to think more about where they want to go and the music will slow down and become more tame, but let’s hope this particular beast never becomes completely domesticated.