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Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Hungry Lights - The Awry Ascent

Today I had the pleasure to listen to Hungry Lights, a mad solo musician on youtube. His newest creation is one of five albums in a series called ‘Mourn’ and it’s about the journey of a fisherman who is slowly losing his mind. This reflects perfectly in the music and the sound. With every song and through every note the tension gets higher and the feeling becomes more and more chaotic. In the end you feel like you have lost a little bit of yourself in the album and have gained a bit of the mad fisherman. This album truly is a masterpiece in my mind. This is Hungry Lights first official album but he has released a few other concept pieces under the name of Justin Bonitz (his real name) and Amnaeon which started as a 4 piece band. When asked what he thinks of his earlier work Hungry Lights simply answers ‘Not good’.

1- Aphotic Currents 1:
We start of this masterpiece with a long acoustic intro with violins and all the classical goodstuff, You hear the sea and seagulls in the background and it’s a serene and easy to listen to track. It gives the listener the feeling of safety and warmth. Towards the end it gets more bombastic.

2- An Outset In The Sea:
the next track starts off with a strange hissing sound? I am not sure how to describe it. The guitar, bass, flute and singing start and it sounds eerie. Like something isn’t completely right. Towards the ending of the song it gets more aggressive but suddenly plunges in a silence and starts building right up again. It keeps rising and the raw vocals do their work well. The guitars, bass and drums fade out in a bunch of seagulls and the next song starts.

3- Prite & Promise:
starts of really strong with great riffs and musical unity. The singing is great and passionate and I am so into this album it’s unbelievable. It is amazing how Hungry Lights manages to merge all of his songs into one big beautiful piece of art.

4- The Fence:
We start of this song with a Spanish guitar and flamenco feel to it all. It keeps that feeling through the whole song even though it is quite heavy in comparison with the rest of the album. The playful flamenco elements with the voice and the heavy elements with the Spanish fluent and happy sound mix and twist each other of perfectly. The song builds up towards a quick and sudden ending before falling in complete silence and starting the next song.

5- A Drunken Stalemate
You hear a storm, one guitar, thunder, sounds in the background, the guitar starts to get louder, voices in the background, it sounds like we are in a pub of sorts.
Hungry Lights starts singing. Low and bombastic but quickly accompanied by a second, higher voice. The singing is joined by the bass and a violin. It’s a very dark sounding track. I throw around the word eerie a lot and I’m gonna throw it around again. The electric guitars and full drum set comes in and the singing becomes more rough, the song picks up a faster pace and you as the listener are dragged along a dark path towards the Umber Tower.

6- Umber Tower
pumping bass, synthesizer, electric guitar, building drums. Every song I am blasted away by the build-up Hungry Lights has in his songs. It is truly brilliant. His song sounds genuine, mad, burdened. The emotions of the troubled fisherman reflect in his voice. Again this track makes good use of a violin, which I love.

Something more I love about this album is that you can just listen to it and enjoy good music really easily without being distracted or you can actually pay full attention to it and try to decipher the songs, the hidden meanings. I feel like Hungry Lights has done everything he has done in this album deliberately. Not one note was just placed because it sounded good. Every note and every hit of the snare has meaning.

Umber Tower, features a short and very fitting guitar solo before going back to the synthesizer. Back to the beginning of the song. The drums, bass and guitar join back in and the song starts to draw towards a shattering conclusion.

7- The Nimlocks
Umber Tower and The Nimlocks flow seamlessly into each other. The transition was non-existent and that’s awesome. The style does change a bit though. The intro is a bit country westerny and when the heavy guitars start playing you hear a melodic synthesizer in the background. The western guitar takes over again at a higher pace again and I even feel like Hungry Lights gave himself a bit of an accent for this song. The singing is strong and emotional and just really, really good. The song is, this album is.

8- The Awry Ascent
This song man., just listen to it. It’s out on YouTube for free. Just promise me to buy the album if you like the song. And then buy the album, you’re going to like this.

9- In The Eyes Of A Sword
As The Awry Ascent fades away and this song comes on you just feel the album has made a switch. More aggressive, darker, not necessarily with heavier sound but the feel is just different. This song feels a bit more mainstream (I really hate that word.) The riffs are less original but hey, we’ve had 8 amazing songs in a row, you can’t have everything. And just because it sounds a bit like I’ve heard it before somewhere doesn’t mean that it’s bad. The producing quality of this whole album is great, especially considering the fact that it’s done by one guy. This song is not an exception. The singing in this song is amazing as well. Hungry Lights Swings in between growls and clean vocals so fast and without any distortion if I may call it that.

10- Wither
Something that Hungry Lights does a lot and did again just now is ending aggressively and start building up again with the new song. It really fits his style though and I do not find it annoying he does this, I even really like it. The songs are stories on themselves musically, and combine them and you have an already epic saga that will become bigger and bigger.
This song is really calm in comparison to the rest of the album. Slower guitars, dark ambient sounds and heavy vocals combined with bombastic drumming and bass. HOLY SHIT GUYS THE CONCLUSION IS COMING CLOSE. You can feel it in every note, every beat of the drum and every word uttered. The song and especially the singing becomes more and more aggressive and the whole song just feels so epic. To me it’s like watching The Lord of the Rings for the first time. This is a huge freaking compliment to Hungry Lights.

11- Fothcrah
This is the epic conclusion of an epic album. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s pretty fucking insane. Everything has been building up to this song. Every single song on this album was good so if Hungry Lights wants to end this album in a good way this song has a lot to accomplish. It does that and more. Fuck. The singing is madness incarnate in the best way possible. You feel lost, scared, hopeful, mental. The metal switching between acoustic epicness is great and once again you hear a violin every now and then. This whole song seems like a presentation of the mind of Hungry Lights himself. Insane. It is kind of scary. Towards the end of the song we hear a violin intermezzo which goes into an eerie sounding acoustic guitar piece which is in its turned backed up by great distorted guitar strikes. It builds up together again and it starts sounding almost happy. A great solo finished of this album and as it fades away we hear another thunder strike and the storm in the background. Wow what a great ride this was.

In conclusion: This album is really great. Musically it’s amazing, everything has been thought of and everything serves a purpose. This guy is crazy talented. The producing of this album is great as well and the whole album tells a story that is not completely told yet. Even though this album is 1 hour, 11 minutes and 30 seconds long it leaves you craving for more. I am hungry for more Hungry Lights. There are a few things he could tweak. One song wasn’t amazeballs but just really good. And for that I give this album 9.5 out of 10. Go listen to it already.

Written by Koen Oude Kempers

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