Gloom - Rider Of The Last Light

Gloom is one of Finland’s more raw and chaotic black metal acts, so those looking to go back to the 90s when black metal wasn’t so avant-garde or symphonic and just grim and evil then they are an excellent choice. Their album “Rider Of the Last Light” takes furious black metal riffing that would appeal to fans of early Marduk with the attitude of nihilistic churn from artists like Dodsferd and presents listeners with a whirlwind of black metal that is certainly evil and well produced (though the album sounds underproduced, but that just adds to the atmosphere). There is not much breathing room once the album takes off as track after track Gloom spits their venomous tones whether it be the shrieking vocals or rhythm buzzed guitars that feel like they take a few melodies from Darkthrone but are not trying to be like them at the same time. ‘Bleed’ starts the album with every intention of annihilating ears with a gun click and then exploding with the raw, typical black metal style riffs that just don’t seem to let up at all. The drums plod along behind while the bass is buried, but it is clear that Gloom uses the guitars as the main weapon to get their point across. Thankfully, the sound is completely lo-fi distorted like Xasthur so one can still enjoy the melodies buried in the guitar riffs here and there.

‘Iron Claws Of Black Metal’ is about is true one can get to the 90s side of the genre. With an almost punk style vibe that is a little more catchy vs. the evil tones of some of the other tracks, there is definitely some Darkthrone inspired riffs here mixed with Nattefrost rawness. It is grim, yet more upbeat track compared to the darker sounding ‘Murder Yourself.’ While Gloom seems to have a bit of ‘go ahead and kill yourself’ message on the album, they don’t quite try to convey the depressive tone with their music. The black metal punk riff style continues with ‘Fuck Your Faith’ and ‘No Mercy After Sunset’ which try to infuse a little more melody as opposed to just buzz saw riffs that seem endless with the vocals spitting atop it. The one downside would be is that a lot of the riffs can feel recycled, and with very limited break moments in between as each track seamlessly blends into the next one, it can be hard to have variety between the tracks. Those that are used to the raw side of black metal will probably be fine with it, but those who are more used to black metal artists who jump all over the place like Ihsahn or have cleaner production like Dimmu Borgir may be a bit off put by this.

While “Rider Of The Last Light” does seem like a one trick pony through the most of the album, ‘By Your Own Hand’ does its best to break the cycle by adding in a lot more bass work, however brief, which makes it ones of the more standout tracks. Even with this little tweak the pace seems a little less frantic, without losing the rawness, and still retains that evil sound that black metal fans seem to like so much. Also one of the longer tracks, it limits the vocals and lets listeners really enjoy the more instrumental side of Gloom, even though it is still mostly just churning riffs over and over with the drums thumping along. The closing title track speeds things back up to what was similar to be heard on the first half of the album, but one thing Gloom changes up is the drums. They’re noticeably faster which adds a whole new level of lo-fi atmosphere to the music, but they aren’t obliterated by the punk style riffs either. In short, Gloom’s effort here is pretty standard for black metal, but those who like a more ‘kvlt’ sound with catchy riffs infused will definitely appreciate it as it pulls chops from the more evil side of the genre.

3 / 5 STARS 

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1. Bleed
2. Iron Claws Of Black Metal
3. Fuck Your Faith
4. Deep In The Ground
5. No Mercy After Sunset
6. Murder Yourself
7. By Your Own Hand
8. Rider Of The Last Light


Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jun 11, 2020
Next review: Torrefy - Life Is Bad

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