Sunday, March 6, 2022

Full Length Review: Lichtblick "Abkehr" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Dave Wolff

Band: Lichtblick
Country: Austria
Genre: Depressive black metal
Full Length: Abkehr
Format: Digital album, jewel case CD
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Release date: February 25, 2022
Even though depressive black metal has negative connotations, listening to it and looking at its bleak melancholy from another perspective may lead to a cathartic experience. We don't always experience sunshine and rainbows and it's better to feel honest grief rather than be blinded by wool. As much as other bands of this genre do, Lichtblick effortlessly call illusions of safety and security into question with “Abkehr”. If you are tenacious enough to traverse this abyss and back, your perception may similarly shift.
I've heard lots of dark music; Vond, Abruptum, and Aghast among others; and the feelings Lichtblick evoke aren’t much different from anything released by those artists. Following 2015's “Feel Free to Lose Your Life” EP and 2018's “Phrenesis” album, "Abkehr" is their second full-length. It actually sounds a little brighter than depressive black metal and DSBM bands with more experience as it contains moments related to folk and post black metal with a lot of atmosphere. In the loosely quoted words of a fan at Encyclopedia Metallum, they add lighter moments to the hypnotic and desperate ones, thus providing light and hope to the darkness.
Cover artwork designed by the band and Wrathdesign conveys a sense of seclusion and brooding contemplation, as if someone is either counting down the days until they escape this mortal coil or counting down to the moment they finally grow old enough to leave it behind for realms unseen. It has long been a part of underground music, presented in an inviolable environment for the listener. Although it was only a temporary visit to the abyss, once the darkness has passed, it will seem like millennia spent there.
The songwriting and musicianship here aren't a result of a single minded effort. "Abkehr" is broader in scope and shows the effort made to incorporate a range of moods. Somber and contemplative one instant, quiet and restful the next, then bombastic and wretched, then unwilling to continue but knowing that it's a necessity, it encapsulates different stages of desolation and despondency. Even though it's black metal, that doesn't mean it's all the same hue; this is something more snobbish musicians who don't even listen to the bands don't even consider. Despite being melancholy, a band can encompass many colors, as this band seems to do.
Dispensed through a tight and hypnotic lens, "Abkehr" exemplifies the potential for a band to grow without compromising themselves to become more marketable, just like many great and inventive underground bands have exemplified time and again. –Dave Wolff

A.: Drums, Vocals
M.: Guitars
J.: Guitars
D.: Bass

Track list:
1. GeƤst
2. Under The Ice
3. Geister
4. I Feel Nothing
5. Amaurosis
6. Mental Breakdown

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