After some demo cassettes and a split LP, this Mexico-based band is releasing their debut full-length through Invictus Productions. Reportedly joining influences of classic Greek, Italian, and South American black metal along with touches of death metal, Predatory Light is prepared to take up arms against the big boys of 2016. The band further shares their intentions in stating, "Carved from the vermin womb, a spinning sanctity of nonmaterial suffering, the Predatory Light seeks to peel the mind and inseminate the spirit-cortex with the corrosive ﬂuid of divine transgression. We preach spiritual disintegration; we speak of physical degradation so we may pass through the psychic membrane, deﬂeshed, deﬁled and ecstatic in our feral devotion to the beyond. We offer reincarnation through ritual excarnation of the mind and total liberation from this skin that binds us in torment and ﬁlth."
Predatory Light has found a bit of a shtick with their sound, and it's one that serves the album well in terms of balancing extremity with infectious melodies. Each song stands firmly on the foundation of a fairly simple and repetitious guitar hook; usually coated in reverb and consisting of tremolos, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. These shrieking notes are seemingly imprinted directly onto your brain, as if by some spell or curse. From this moment on you will find yourself physically reacting to their predictability, and find strange comfort in the fact that they will stick in your mind long after. Research shows that we respond chemically similar to spending time with friends as we do watching our favorite reruns. Why shouldn't this also apply to music?
But enough deconstruction and science. Where does this formula actually take us? Personally, I love it. With each listen I found myself liking each song more an more. And despite the above description not sounding very black metal, Predatory Light is a fantastic black metal album. It's simply one that seems to understand how to be dark and ugly while still drawing in and maintaining a fan base. Tracks are consistently ominous, wretched, and evil-sounding; and they flow together nicely over the course of the album. It's extremely cohesive, but the subtle changes in hooks allow each track to also stand on their own. My personal favorites happen to be "Lurid Hand" and "Divine Membrane," but it's hard for me to pick.
If you enjoyed other atmospheric black and death metal releases this year like Zhrine, Athame, Denouncement Pyre, and True Black Dawn; you'll enjoy this one. Predatory Light have found a good niche, and they back it up with well-suited production and performance. The vocals are strong, the guitars frightening, and the drums deafening. The undercurrent of hellfire scorches from below...and it feels pretty good. There's a lot of competetition this year, but I could see this finding its way onto my favorite BM releases of the year.