Epoch Of Unlight
At War With The Multiverse

Listen, I’ve been excited about a fair number of reunions and comebacks over the years: Gorefest, Carcass, Disillusion, At The Gates, and recent ones like …And Oceans and Naglfar. But I have to admit, after a 17 year wait, news of the return of Tennessee’s Epoch of Unlight had me more thrilled than all of those.

Once the flagship band of US black metal and for then elite label, The End Records, they played a super melodic, technical, shredding form of black/thrash metal. They released three killer albums in 1998s What Will Be Has Been, 2001s absolutely phenomenal apex album, Caught in the Unlight, and then swansong, 2005s The Continuum Hypothesis.  All three albums have still been in regular rotation for me over the last 17 years. Just go back and listen to the likes of  “Ad Infinitum”, “Ulutant Cries”, “Crimson And Steel”, “The Day the Light Hath Died”, “Immortal Crucify”, “In the Absence of Light”, “Argentum Era Secui Duos” or “Hidden From Light”.  Still, sooooo fuckin good.

Well, founder and drummer Tino LoSicco, with whom I stayed in contact over the years (via myspace no less…) after a Metal Maniacs interview with him, has been teasing a return over the last few years with rehearsal tracks, rough edits of songs, and such. And finally, there is a new lineup that has some old blood like guitarist Josh Braddock, and bassist Joe Toty and some new blood like guitarist Joe Fortier and vocalist Scott Baggett and an album that captures the glory of the band’s three lone albums in magnificent style.

At the heart of Epoch of Unlight’s sound is LoSicco’s, chaotic drumming, and an equally chaotic but melodic, warmongering sense of black metal/melodic death metal riffage that hits just right, but was uniquely theirs all those years ago (especially the cartoonishly high vocals on the debut). And the new lineup, with that old blood and LoSicco’s guidance, has managed to sound unmistakably like Epoch of Unlight even 17 years later. Vocalist Baggett keeps things a little less high-pitched than his forebearers, but effectively vicious, while LoSicco is still as chaotic as ever. And the production issues they had minor issues with back in the late 90s and early 00s have been brought into the new age. But the riffs. Oh my, the riffs…

Admittedly, the classic sound takes a while to warm up as the short, sharp opener “The Anthropocene” is a straight-up thrash bruiser, but then you get “The Numbing Stillness”, where you can hear the band’s shredding sense of blackened melody collide perfectly with some burly thrash.  And from there, you can hear the album gradually and slowly sound more like their classic sound as “Wrath of the Cryomancer” has a melody line that could have come from The Continuum Hypothesis, and brings a huge grin to my face, as I realize they are indeed fully fucking BACK.

“An Amaranthine Line” and “Beneath a Dying Sun” follows suit with shredding, slicing numbers that hit the spot perfectly. But when “Elysian Immortals” comes charging out the gate with an utterly classic Caught in the Unlight era riff, I’m giddy with nostalgic glee. “The Mobius Path” has a more restrained, steady melo-death gallop mixed with some sterner blasts, but has a super catchy chorus/riff and a nice closing lead.  However, despite all the nostalgic greatness I’ve heard up to now, my favorite tracks on the album, are later numbers like the rambunctious “Night Hunt”, with a rare, killer, nifty little groove towards the end, and fucking searing, if too short “All Light Dies,  arguably the most chaotic, throwback sounding song on the album (…and you know there had to be a “Light” themed song..)

“The Lie of Tomorrow’s Dawn” is a perfect end note with plenty of nods to past efforts, cementing the perfect return to form that Epoch of Unlight has unleashed after an all too long wait.  Tino, let’s not wait another 17 years, please.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 12th, 2022

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