This would appear to be the work of just the one necromancer known as Niklas or Nerrath to his acolytes. Latitude Egress is the new name given to an old project entitled Licht Erlischt who released two albums via Black Blood Records before deciding on a new name moving away from his more DSBM origins. It’s not like he has particularly seen the light although he has moved into more illuminating themes here and has mixed his previous sound with that of doom within a classic clean vocalised style with even touches of gothic and devotional work enshrouding things.
Songs are quite long and involving as are the descriptive titles such as opener ‘To Take Up The Cross When Through It You Can Win A Kingdom.’ This has a plodding but stomping beat and is heavy and cloying but those vocals are what make it instantly different than anything else you can quite put your finger on being, austere, reverential and with a touch of the unhinged about them when unleashed at full croon. You could easily imagine a robed Messiah Marcolin stomping up and down to this but early Candlemass it is not (for a start I like it) and it is a mass that is dark and cloaked in shadows atmospherically. Some of the guitar work borders on black metal here although not in a fast respect, think more in lines with the work of something on the fringes such as Negative Plane perhaps. Playing this is a bit like entering a strange cult as a beginner and having to start from scratch reading arcane texts to gain further insight. The PR blurb mentions funeral doom and the likes of Nortt, Inquisition, Primordial and Warning and there are definitely aspects of them all as it is on the whole slow and in no rush, mysterious and occultist in feel and vocally something you could imagine Averill at when going off on a tangent.
It is at times quite gorgeous when combined as on the lush clean harmonic caress of ‘To Cast A Spot Upon The Death Of Your Death’ which touches like an ode to the departed and is particularly heartfelt and passionate as it mourns the fallen. The slow heavy beat is enhanced by some twanging guitar work and the melody here is really strong and makes you want to batter your fist down hard when listening despite the fact that it’s naturally a slow number. The classic strumming musical pulse of ‘To Walk At The Hands Of A Dial’ sounds ageless as though it has risen through the aeons themselves. This live must have an audience literally bowed over, which makes me wonder if this one man outfit does expand to live performances, if so I would happily be up for worshipping at their altar. Although the vocals are not quite wailing they meander, throwing strange shapes along with the music, the sudden emergence of a maudlin keyboard sound adds extra heady presence.
There’s never too much going on and musically it could be considered minimalistic at times with just slow drumming and lone weeping riffs (although the closing instrumental shows a much heftier mind-set) but what it lacks for in that respect is more than made up for in depth of emotion and as it continues you feel yourself numbly going on with the flow. I am trying to work out what language we are on lyrically with ‘To Tread On Loose Boardwalks’ it sounds Latin at times and also English at others and makes this torturously slow crawling number even more effective especially when some low growls are added to the otherwise clean choral work.
This has really made me want to listen to some of the stuff by Licht Erlischt as although moving away from the DSBM sound it is definitely not a happy album in the time and one for a cold dark day with the rain coming down outside the window. Latitude Egress may not be the easiest of fix or band to put a finger on but the uniqueness of them makes this all the more special and this is one cross well worth prostrating yourself before.
(8/10 Pete Woods)