Epistasis – Light Through Dead Glass (Crucial Blast)

Tuesday, 1st July 2014
Rating: 8/10

Sharing a drummer with fellow NY crazies Pyrrhon, it’s not a huge stretch to distinguish Epistasis as their black metal, atmospheric cousin (in terms of their penchant for experimental, outside the box approaches anyways).  Not to take anything away from the band though, Light Through Dead Glass (their second EP) does truly have a sound of its own.  This review should be prefaced with the knowledge that if you don’t want to hear some trumpet (don’t worry it’s not obnoxious but subtly blended), Epistasis is probably not for you.

There is a certain amount of restrained chaos that reigns throughout Light Through Dead Glass.  Things bounce purposely and distinctly between scathing black metal aesthetics and eerie atmospheric dreamscapes on the stop of a dime.  Riffs occasionally dive into the death metal spectrum (“Candelaria”) and the caustic, vile screams of frontwoman Amy Mills are sure to elicit a feeling of claustrophobia when added to the eclectic slurry of influences in Epistasis’ repertoire.  A track like “Witch”, with its foreboding introduction, before exploding into abrasive black metal riffing neatly straddles the line between genius and madness as it falls into it’s second half with bleak and genuinely creepy vibes.

The use of Mill’s second voice, aka the trumpet, is worthy of note.  Never used in a gimmicky or contrived way, Epistasis deserve some kudos for truly blending the elements of their music together in such a way that the trumpet elicits some eloquent feelings (“Finisterre”) or creates tension (“Time’s Vomiting Mouth”) in a legitimate setting.  The somber tone of “Grey Ceiling” really gives the instrument its spot in the limelight and acts as a much-needed breather between the more visceral “Gown of Yellow Stars” and “Candelaria”.

Chock-full of varied emotions and atmospheres, Light Through Dead Glass can be a challenging initial listen.  It proves its worth with each successive listen though, and for a young band, Epistasis seems to have a very good idea of what they are about.  A band to keep your eyes on in the near future.

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