Cold Body Radiation: Deer Twillight

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Cold Body Radiation: Deer Twillight
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Cold Body Radiation: Deer Twilight
Black Metal, Shoegaze
Dusktone Records
November, 2011
Release length: 41:40
Myspace
Cold Body Radiation is another one of the underground emotional Black Metal acts to recently surface and find a niche in certain circles of the catacombs. Of course, it plays to many of the “shrouded” ideals of this world as well, which makes the group an intriguing specimen. Hailing from the Netherlands, the band is a one man project helmed by a hidden member known simply as “M.” and was formed back in 2009. About a year later, this act issued their debut full-length album The Great White Emptiness to a fair critical and fan response. But, it didn’t take long for a follow-up to be composed, recorded, and put onto disc. “M.” returns once more through Dusktone Records to unleash Deer Twillight (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), another forty plus minute experience of emotional, passionate Black Metal. But, does this Shoegaze meets Black Metal effort stand out among the crowd of others like it with this offering?

Deer Twillight has been referred to more as a Post-Rock effort, but what appears on this disc feels more akin to bands like Alcest than anything else. It’s clear the direction was to go a little more on the raw side, but the way everything is leveled and put into effect just sounds horrible, and often had the speakers rattling or giving off a shrill, ear piercing tinny feedback from how high a pitch the chords end up being. The guitars have a good deal of distortion that helps to give off a starry, spiritual projection kind of atmosphere, relying greatly on the loud, but far from deep bass guitar to offer more to the audio than just simpler, emotion-filled riffs. The drums are lost greatly in the overly distorted chords, having the snares and cymbals come through enough to hear, but offer up no big impact to the music aside some of the faster songs such as “Make Believe.” However, the kicks have a similar pitch to them that the bass guitar has, which is a higher thud that is very unimpressive. Sadly, when hammered away at in crucial moments, like the built up passage near the end of “Make Believe,” they sound absolutely terrible and leave you scrambling for the skip track button. There are vocals to this, though really limited. The clean singing does often blend in with the music well, and even the shrieks work out when necessary, but sometimes you may not even pick up on them.

“Deer Twillight” kicks the album off superbly, and also makes up one of the longest tracks. The softer, slower pace allows the bass to really take over properly, and give the additional keyboard elements a chance to work with the higher distortion chords to have what is a small symphonic Ambience to it. The laid back nature, as well as the beauty found in it, is enough to ease the listener into a relaxed state, and immediately be swept up by the passion that was clearly thrust into the compositions. Even when the music picks up to a richer sound, and some of the Black Metal elements really show through with a heavier presence, it all works, giving a slight chill to the music. “Shimmer” also stands out for these reasons. Moving at a slower pace, it allows some emptier moments in the riffs to once again allow the keyboards, softer distortions on some chords, and a strong atmosphere to effectively shine through. The vocals stand out a little more from it as well, and definitely presents a very soothing vibe that doesn’t really tread into heavier ground like some of the others on here. Obviously, these are the sort of tracks you definitely want to look out for either way.

While much of Deer Twillight is made up of slower cuts, they are not what the album is limited to. “Make Believe” has some faster moments, but shows that it doesn’t always work thanks to the horrible machine gun blast style kicks towards the end when everything picks up with a greater enthusiasm and richer sound. Not only do they feel off beat, but just throw the harmony of the material out of place. There are some clean vocals that are drowned out in the mix that do come off as if part of the music itself with words being created out of the figment of your imagination. These moments carry a heavier tone with them, but don’t alter the speed too much. But then you have “A Change of Pace” to consider. This song is quicker like “Make Believe,” but is far more upbeat in comparison. The clean vocals act more as harmonized chants that blend in perfectly with the beautiful and infectious lead chords, though still clearly human. There also is an acoustic segment that slows things down, and for a while leaves the rest of the instruments out of the mix. This is transitioned into well enough, though still impacts the flow of the song pretty bad.

“Concept of Forever” hammers back into a stronger Black Metal output, finding a dominant drum foundation here, and for the most part the cymbals and snares come through well enough to push the faster pace and more intense foundation. However, unlike with “Make Believe,” the bass kicks are, for the most part, drowned out by the guitar. This is great news considering how horrible they sounded before, and having them more as back-up for many parts of this one works out in its favor. There are plenty of moments you will find your head bobbing around here, similar to “A Change of Pace” and its infectious material, but this time you’ll find it more in the slower passages that rely a lot of the rhythm of the music more than the atmosphere, making your ability to get hooked on the beat of the song a lot easier. As a superb example of Shoegaze and Black Metal mixed together, while still focusing on the latter part of the two genres, it really becomes a shame that this one is limited to less than five minutes, is the only one as impressive as this when it comes to introducing speed into the equation, and resorts more to restrained Shoegaze about half way through.

The oddest thing about Deer Twillight, however, is that much of the music actually sounds better if you walk into an adjoining room, something I noticed upon a momentary breather to stretch my legs. It muffled much of the audio quality issues, and wound up making it sound a lot better than sitting in the same unblocked vicinity as the speakers. But, even with that in mind, you can’t really say Deer Twillight is a bad album. The music itself is pretty good, it just suffers from some bad production choices. There are a number of moving, emotional songs here that are still worth experiencing. Cold Body Radiation may not have put together the most amazing Shoegaze or Post-Rock sound mixed with Black Metal effort to be pressed on plastic, but you will definitely enjoy the environment some songs have. But, unfortunately, there not enough good songs to really have you coming back, and after a few spins you’ll find yourself leaving this in your collection and moving on to the next entry of this field. It may not collect a lot of dust depending on your taste of this style, but at least sampling what Deer Twillight offers the listener is definitely something you should do before anything else.

01. Deer Twilight – 6:49
02. Make Believe – 7:28
03. The Night Reveals – 5:46
04. Shimmer – 5:07
05. A Change of Pace – 5:28
06. Concept of Forever – 4:54
07. Yes, Maybe the Stars – 6:08
Overall Score: 6/10
Cold Body Radiation (Logo)
Physical review copy of this release provided by Dusktone Records.