Ebony Lake
In Swathes of Brooding Light
Style: Black Metal
Release date: 29 October, 2011
Playing time: 79:30

Cacophonous Records was a small British label that proved to be a hotbed for successful Black Metal acts – it had spawned acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Sigh, Cradle Of Filth, Bal-Sagoth and many others. Ebony Lake too were there, although they were more like the backbenchers of the class. Well this band has ruffled its feathers again with “In Swathes.....” – only their second album since they first got together around 15 years ago.

At times the music displays hints of Chaostar and latter day Arcturus but sounds much colder, darker and dissonant than these bands. This is not your typical Black Metal fare – aside from the basic dynamics of the genre, the album also contains unending tempo breaks, female chants, a wise range of other backing vocals, trumpets and sound effects. Lots of sound effects. In fact, one of the most infuriating aspects of this album is the excessive layering of the music. For instance in ‘The Curious Cave of Deformities’ I caught myself shouting at my CD changer to shut up, such was my irritation at the range of indistinct background sounds that kept preventing me from focusing on the music. “In Swathes…” will no doubt generate diametrically-opposed views but one must concede that Ebony Lake have succeeded in looking at the Black Metal genre from a distinct perspective.

The second half of the album is far superior – it’s less atmospheric and more technical than the first half, almost as if the 2 halves were written in 2 different periods of the band’s career. ‘Amethyst Lung Concerto’, for example, is a brilliant track and its guitar riffing almost draws parallels to Nocturnus. Despite the musical validity of “In Swathes...” one gets the general impression that since the debut album, the energy accumulated by Ebony Lake needed to be reined in more. 

Organised chaos or chaotically organised? The debate is open...


01. And From the Seas the Sickening Things (04:16)
02. I Painted the Suicide of Neptune (07:01)
03. The Curious Cave of Deformities (04:41)
04. In Swathes of Brooding Light Skeletal Birds Scratch at Broken Windows (05:50)
05. Human Mannequin Puppeteer (01:45)
06. Licking at the Nesting's of Young Fledglings (09:55)
07. Amethyst Lung Concerto (5:49)
08. Within Deepest Red (The Opening Of..) (09:48)
09. The Theory of Sexual Carvings (06:01)
10. A Voice in the Piano (10:24)

Label: Les Acteurs De L'Ombre
Distribution: Twilight
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 19 October, 2011
Website: www.myspace.com/ebonylakeofficialuk