USBM from Rhode Island – Cemetery Lights have a penchant for the classics. I am not talking Mayhem and Darkthrone I mean ancient civilisations. They released a debut cassette Lamuralia last year which focussed on Rome, this was followed by the E.P. “The Church on the Island”.
With “The Underworld“ Cemetery Lights have switched to ancient Greece for its octet of darkness.
Now, for these old ears one-man band “the Corpse” who is the only member offers up a very different brand of Black Metal to what one may expect.
Immediately I am put in mind of the betwixt album recordings of Sisters of Mercy that appeared on “Some Girls Wander by Mistake”. The feel and production of this album exudes that of “Home of the Hit-Men” and “Adrenochrome”. Raw, dirt cheap sounding instruments and Eldritch style muted vocals. If the Corpse is reading this – it’s a compliment. This release sweats a dirty Leeds gothic sound.
Erebos opens with a crash of drums that sounds like someone’s tape of a Venom demo recorded on a tape recorder set up next to a speaker. Proper necro like. The cymbals all sound like the gong at the start of a Rank motion picture in the 50’s and there is a guitar line that could be straight out of a film noir chase scene. I swear the drums are recorded in the next state from the rest of the instruments and piped in via a tin can and string set up. It’s ruddy glorious!
“Hades” has a bit of Fields of the Nephillim about it alongside the Addams family Black metal feel. Is Necro Goth a thing? I think Cemetery Lights have invented it if not. “Elysium” is proto Black Metal – think Hellhammer or early Bathory with proper clean gothic vocals.
“Isles of the Blessed“ begins with a melancholy bassline and a guitarline that sounds like a garage band tuning up before turning into a kind of Nick Cave meets the Cramps meets Crass punkabilly take on NecroGoth (see I’ve made ita thing!) . There is something so underground about Cemetery Lights and not in the usual bedroom occultist way. They sound like they should have been on tour with the Meteors or the Misfits in some packed sweaty working man’s club filled with punks and psychobillies way back when. The “Scary” vocals on this track add an extra level of retro camp.
“Shores of Akheron” is an instrumental that sounds like someone practicing bass scales in their bedroom. Maybe it is. One to fast forward on the tape.
“Olympos” struts out with a guitar line that sounds like Wayne Hussey in 82. The vocals are a bit lost in the mix leaving a muddy sound as the more metallic riff swamps everything else. This is less raw and retro, more messy and lost.
“Tartaros” is back on track. Tin can drumming topped by one string melody and orange squeezing necrocity.
All NecroGoth things must come to an end and The Underworld is no different. “Fields of Asphodel” has Arabic melodies in its dark embrace and the hit and miss drums add to the live sound of the recording. Yet again there is a punky aesthetic to the track and the layering of simple instrumentation makes an interesting sound.
Cemetery Lights hark back to several different times in an everyman fan way that is so trve and punk it raises a smile in this old Goff.
(6.5/10 Matt Mason)