Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Pregnant Light - Stars Will Fall (EP) (2013)

For just about everything that goes on in the year 2013, we have a precedent. Events and decisions of the past give us ways to digest that which happens around us each and every day. Court proceedings, life choices, and even music have all been given a frame of reference. But what are we to do, then, when we find something that doesn't? After hearing the music of A Pregnant Light, a one man project from Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is a crisis of knowledge, or lack thereof. Because where Deathless Marantha's work stops and starts, is in a gray area that, to our best of recollection, hasn't really been exposed to this point. He defies conventional genre tagging, and produces the kind of raw energy that ties styles together. But when you have music that is just as much black metal as it is punk, or just as much clean as it is distorted, it is even harder to wrap your head around it. The latest EP, the 66 piece limited cassette run known as "Stars Will Fall" is enough to leave you scratching your head; whether it is out of confusion or joy is up to you.

Finding the thin purple line that exists between punk and black metal might seem difficult in your mind, but within the first few measures of the title track, it becomes a bit more clear. The two styles coexist here, however much of a stretch that could prove to be. Everything is delivered in a very raw state, though barely noticeable coats of polish do creep through the mix from time to time. It is the vocals that will either solidify the album or downgrade it, as the shouts and screams have very little in common with the instrumental itself. The true feast is in the combination of bending guitar grooves, played just loud enough to be audible over the rising distortion and crackling drum beats. It becomes difficult to reconcile the style being played, thanks in part to deep grunts on "My Life Outside The Party."  On one hand, you have a casually atmospheric set of guitars; yet, on the other hand, a vocal that is little more than loud speaking, and barely that. Whereas the first track managed at least some sort of rise and fall, this one fails to achieve that same level of investment. The true shame is that the musicianship here is more refined, and yet lacks direction or structure.

There is a lot to take in in just two songs, totally fourteen minutes of sonic delivery. It can quickly become overwhelming, particularly if you have no clue what you've gotten yourself into. That said, there are two ways to approach this EP, both of which must be considered with each and every release that crosses your path; opinion and acceptance. It seems unlikely that this EP, or the greater works of Deathless Marantha, will become staples in the collections of many. The work is too avant, too eccentric, to eclectic to appeal to the majority. With a style like this, one that no one seems to have put their mark on to this point, you are bound to be the reluctant acceptor or a few shaking heads. A Pregnant Light isn't the band that changes the world or landscape of music. That is the opinion part. The acceptance part is much more difficult, and also far more important. After listening to "Stars Will Fall," and judging for ourselves, it is hard to deny that it will be the precedent going forward. And it is time to accept that this will make waves.


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