Ever since its inception in 2011, Colloquial Sound has produced a steady stream of releases through the many projects of label’s mastermind Damien Master. Arguably one of their least productive years so far, 2017 nevertheless marked the release of sophomore albums of acoustic songs by Deathless Maranatha and of funeral doom by Alluring, as well as the digital release of «Devotion Unlaced» by A Pregnant Light. The latter was subsequently released in physical format this year, in a cassette bundle together with the «Lucky All My Life» EP, which we discuss below.
Never one to stay silent for a very long time, Master has already put two records out in 2018. He did so with those that are likely to be its two most well-known projects, A Pregnant Light and Aksumite (this definitely holds when it comes to number of releases and listeners in last.fm, although Aksumite comes very far behind). The good news are not exhausted by the two new records, with the label having subsequently announced its intention of soon releasing full length records by A Pregnant Light, Beach Pneumatic, Prison Suicide, and Dressed In Streams. Below, we further discuss the two new releases.
A Pregnant Light – «Lucky All My Life» | [Colloquial Sound] | EP
While Master hasn’t shied away from writing personal music with a myriad of projects, few have gone as far on that realm than A Pregnant Light, which already counts more than twenty releases in less than ten years (we’re counting a couple of compilations, but the number is impressive anyway). It’s also far to say that he managed to develop the self-dubbed purple metal sound to a point where it makes total sense to use that coded language to describe what’s happening. Think of it as something of an idiosyncratic take on post punk with black metal aesthetics and the occasional thrash-inspired riff (e.g. the first riff from «Devotion Unlaced»’s «Begging To Be Adored», just before the song slows down) , a penchant for melancholic guitar melodies and a “fuck all of you / love all of you” attitude that rings truer than any tales of eternal wars amongst heavens and hell. Long description? When it’s done with the personal touch of Damien Master, might as well call it purple metal and be done with it.
The new EP, «Lucky All My Life» is not only one of the strongest recent outings of the project, but also an impressive feat of burst-of-the-moment songwriting, as the man himself told Noisey. That is to say that all the riffs were written and recorded in one night. This makes it even more admirable that it all works so well. Sure, maybe the aposiopesis of «Iridescent Pepperming» was not planned but adapted when writing the lyrics, but that still shows some noteworthy capacity of adapting concept to music. As for musical highlights, those are EP’s extremities. Opener «Never Innocent, Frequently Not Guilty» is A Pregnant Light at its best, boasting a sequence of beautifully layered melodic lines weaving their way a couple of hard-hitting metal riffs. Master’s confrontational and emotionally charged screams reverberate as he goes through his display of confidence and guile (complete with a call back to that fantastic LP), “So blow me a kiss / and I’ll throw the dice / I’ve been lucky / All my life (…) I beat the house / I’ll show you how / this is my game without a name”, reminding us along the way why he’s one of the best lyricists in the genre. Ending «Purple Is The Color Of My True Love’s Bruise» on the other hand, is pure melancholy, a reminder that this band is not all about how it all comes out well in the end, but very much about all the pain and misery raked up along the way, bundled together with the lack of guarantees that come with it.
The cassette edition of «Lucky All my Life» has sold out, but a digital copy can still be purchased in this location.
Aksumite – «Vinegar Perimeter» | [Colloquial Sound]
Moving towards the band that got me into Colloquial Sound with their fantastic 2012 LP «Pridless Lions». Now, Aksumite might be considerably less boundary-breaking than its purple counterpart, as well as less emotionally rich. However, it’s also abundantly clear that neither of those things are anywhere near the goals set for and by this band. What one expects from Aksumite is the perfect marriage of punk and black metal; this is not about self-reflection, but about distilling your piss and vinegar and throwing it at the world. Better yet, Aksumtie is incredibly good at all of that, and has been for quite some time.
Listening to «Vinegar Perimeter» without further context, it’s hard to imagine it being a step down in relentlessness or aggression of any kind, but then again, most records don’t start with «Snorting Crushed Bones» as did its predecessor «Rubber Room» did. However, «Rubber Room» also went through speed metal passages and many a song clocking over five minutes. «Vinegar Permieter» is in that sense a return to the more traditional punk-based Aksumite sound. Given how instinctive their songwriting is famed to be, this means they were simply led to pretty much write furious and straight-up d-beat songs with infectious riffs aplenty. The exception is the outro «A Red Thing Happened To Me Today», the perfect transition to the real world after the nine bursts of violence one has self-inflicted to get to that point.
As of this writing, there are still a couple of copies of «Vinegar Perimeter» available. Those and the digital version can be obtained here.