What do you get when you pair up James Kent of Perturbator with Johannes Persson of Cult of Luna? The answer is a one-time project commissioned by Roadburn Festival that brings the best of both camps into one paradigm. It’s just as heavy as the post-metal synonymous with Persson’s Swedish pioneers, yet you can also hear the macabre electronics of France’s most recognisable synthwave artist in the shadows. The band’s name is the perfect description of the artistic mood on this record – you feel like you’re living the last hours of your life before the world ends.
Opener, ‘Nothing Will Bear Your Name’, has none of the rustic folk guitar pickings of Cult of Luna but plenty of their eerie ambience. A sustained siren pitch drawn out and slowed down over the top of a dark succession of synth bass spillages sets the scene in cinematic style. This is the part of the dark noir drama where the ostensible good citizen reveals himself as the psychopathic killer. There’s no sign of a drum or percussion until the sudden eruption at the three-minute mark, where Persson unleashes his trademark roar as if snared by a foothold trap. It’s like an Inter Arma composition without the crushing guitars. How does Kent reproduce the same brutal sonics using keyboards and synthesisers? The fragile synth doom of ‘In the Void’ poses the same question. This is the perfect calibration of industrial and post-metal pitched in a force field of lethal design. Final Light capture the tension of the pressure cooker and the whistle of the boiling kettle using ambient atmospherics, heavy drums, and unhinged scream vocals.
You’d think that the union of two opposing musical genres would produce a contrast between beauty and monstrosity, but the outcome errs towards the ugly side. The maudlin anxiety of ‘It Came with the Water’, manifests into a strident rage that may even surprise its creators with its invincibility. After all, this is fragile music that’s always one step away from a nervous breakdown. It’s the sound of a man with nothing to lose and no concern for his fate. The debut Absent in Body album throbs with a similar survivor guilt. Godflesh fans will know this feeling. Might we call the title track synthwave doom? This one gives you the might and the motivation to reset your life and cut out the superfluities. The expensive car, the career, the networking, the predictable social life – dispense with these things if their shallow meanings torture your conscience.
Enlightenment as to the true purpose of your ego (also known as self-discovery) is the goal here. We all have a violent side, but most of us suppress it and are repulsed by it. Final Light understand this. ‘The Fall of a Giant’ takes you to those dark places your mind ignores as a survival mechanism. The blunt kick drum resembles a regular human pulse. This song is slower and more ready to find comfort in pessimism. It will remind you of the introspective moments on the last Perturbator album. ‘Ruin to Decay’ takes the nihilistic post-punk of The Cure’s darkest contemplations from their masterful Pornography LP and thickens the sharp drone chords with guitar fuzz. Bubbling synths alter the mood at the halfway mark, but the effect is still the same. You have no morality. You possess no love. The revelation strikes you – you must be your own God.
The word is that Final light will be a one-off project. If that’s the case, you have even more reason to make the most of this album. Let it raise you from the floor and inject you with fearless strength.
Release Date: 24/06/2022
Record Label: Red Creek Recordings
Standout tracks: In the Void, It Came with the Water, Ruin to Decay
Suggested Further Listening: Absent in Body – Plague God (2022), Lament Cityscape – The Old Wet EP (2020), Luminous Vault – Animate the Emptiness (2022)