Feral Light
Psychic Contortions

After a particularly long day at work, I enjoy coming home to the only place where I can hang my void for the night. I, Voidhanger Records understand this well. They get me. That’s probably why I like most of what I hear from this label, despite it not getting a lot of coverage here. Let’s see to it that trend reverses with the new and overall 4th full length, Psychic Contortions from Minnesota’s Feral Light.

If you’re looking for reference points, see “blackened…” Also maybe see “crust.” On the opening track, “Enveloped and Transformed,” you’ll notice the production straight away. While it’s not bad, it certainly has a hollowness to it, which makes the guitars sound like a bass. When the vocals first started, I had to focus to tell if they were vocals or tape hiss. The quieter moments are where this band shine in the opening track because unfortunately things get muddy when it’s chaotic.

Let’s be real, unless it’s offensively bad, and there are plenty of examples of this, the production/mixing/mastering in a metal release isn’t a dealbreaker. Sometimes we’re spoiled because of how pristine recordings can often be… So, let’s put that aside for now and talk more about the music.

On the next track, “Ills of Closure,” the band takes a sort of Mastodon approach with the guitar lines, and it hits just right. Like Hath in the death metal realm, the extended section of this around the halfway point is an early highlight.

Like me trying to go #2 at a public toilet, most of these songs hover around 5 minutes, then get out.

A perfect example is “Walls of Blackness,” which is almost exactly 5 minutes and has that blackened crust vibe. This track could sum up the album almost perfectly as it includes some of those Mastodon-ian guitar passages, as well as unfortunately showcases some of the mixing issues. When it gets ferocious and they start blasting, while Frank Reynolds may be proud, I can’t hear much.

Admittedly, in the final full-length track, “Communion and Reckoning,” I can hear the blasts a little bit more in the beginning. Maybe that’s due to getting used to it? This song, while the vocals are still fiendish, has more of a relaxed “this is the end of the album” vibe to it, despite there being one track afterwards, even though it’s short and mostly ambient.

Other than some mixing issues, this is a heavy, fun, short ride well worth a listen. Frequently, this type of blackened crust is right up my alley. If you want proof, consult my review of Wolf King’s latest. Despite me liking that album quite a bit, I realized it’s too long over time.  I like what Feral Light has done here and in just 36 minutes, they don’t fall into that same pit. Is it on that level, though? Not quite. However, I do go back and forth between really digging this and thinking it’s simply fine. Take that for what it’s worth.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 18th, 2022


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