Light Bearer
Lapsus LP

I’ve been sitting on my review of this simply stunning double LP for a while now for a couple of reasons. First, it’s such a monolithic, emotionally draining and fantastic album that putting it into words is nigh impossible. Second, I just want to listen to and absorb this record over and over again and not be clouded by my own mental note making or form opinions. I’d simply rather be washed away by its hour long brilliance over and over again.

In corresponding with vocalist/lyricist Alex Bradshaw, I promised I wouldn’t namedrop his former band too much out of respect for his current band mates, but it has to be mentioned so casual listeners can get some general gauge of Light Bearer‘s sound. Those who are familiar with the horribly underrated Fall of Efrafa and their magnificent Warren of Snares -trilogy will feel right at home as Alex is the former frontman of that sadly defunct UK act. With that being said, and trying not to overstate the Fall of Efrafa sound, Light Bearer has the same epic, Neurosis-ish, post-rock sound (though with no d-beat or crust spurts as with early Fall of Efrafa) and incredibly deep lyrical literature based concepts from Bradshaw. Though this time rather than Richard Adams and Watership Down, Light Bearer, as you might garner from the moniker, is a more religious concept rooted in Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy), John Milton (Paradise Lost) and  Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy) — the music is equally as deep and enthralling.

Comprised of six songs spread over two LPs, Lapsus is apparently the first chapter in a planned four part story dealing with Lucifer’s exile from heaven and covers all the tenets of post rock, but with a far richer, deeper story and an sense of scope and grandeur that’s almost unrivaled in anything I’ve heard. From the opening, delicate cello licked hues of opening instrumental number “Before the Infinite” to the closing of the title track, the album is simply mesmerizing with every perfectly placed note and every pained roar brimming with emotional weight.

With four of the tracks being lengthy ‘real’ tracks’ (from 7 to 17 minutes), Lapsus isn’t a quick, casual listen, as it commands your attention. Especially the album’s two magnificent bookends: the 14-minute “Primen Movens” and 17-minute “Lapsus”. I’m not sure you’ll hear a more gorgeous build and crescendo than the first four minutes of “Primen Movens” and the songs steady, sumptuous main riff is just something to die for. But then the album’s closing track, “Lapsus” delivers an equally moving and engaging build and climax around four minutes in, and the song’s heart wrenching cello laden last few minutes is downright rending.

The material in between those two instant classic songs is no slouch either with ‘The Armory Choir” being a rangy and more adventurous number (though with a superb closing few minutes) and  “Prelapsus” being a shorter, more churning track with some evocative clean vocals. Both excellent tracks, but neither resonate as heftily and brilliantly as the two I mentioned earlier. It might be just me, or a concerted effort by the band to tie the concept together, but the main riffs from all three of the album’s main,  longer tacks seemed somewhat connected and similarly played, yet slightly different. It’s a very clever, subtle nuance that works very well to entwine things together. Instrumental segue “Metatron” would be a throwaway 1:43 on any other album, but its clean chant ties together the the previous and the following tracks perfectly.

Lapsus is also currently available on CD from Germany’s Alerta Antifascista Records, but you’d be missing out on one of the most impressive vinyl releases I’ve seen recently. A sturdy gatefold cover which features Alex Bradshaw’s striking grey/black artwork, which was made for LP covers, as well as the two inner sleeves containing more art as well as the lyrics and detailed explanations of the songs and their stories. And frankly, the rich, earthy production just seems to breathe and live when coming from the vinyl output. This is the reason I got a record player.

Ultimately, if you lament the demise of Fall of Efrafa or just want to hear one of the most alluring records of 2011, you need to hear Lapsus. I’m very interested if they can keep it up for another three records. However, Alex did it with Warren of Snares (…sorry Alex, I’m trying…) so there’s no reason to doubt that Light Bearer will ultimately deliver similar body of work that’s equally as magnificent — if not better.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 20th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: bast

    Really good stuff!


  2. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz

    this is on my to-buy list, great find!


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