Since changing their name from Unhallowed, refreshing their line-up and refining their sound in 2015, Umeå’s Black Metallers Wormlight have gone from strength to strength.
Wormlight – Nightmother (Black Lion Records)
Release Date: 7 May 2021
Words: Jools Green
Now they are back to build on the successes of their superb 2018 offering ‘Wrath of the Wilds’ with their follow up studio album ‘Nightmother’, nine tracks and fifty-four minutes of blistering ’90s Black Metal that reflects echoes of, for me at least, Dissection and Naglfar, whilst still retaining its own individual beast.
‘Nightmother’ continues in its predecessor’s style, expanding on what Wormlight achieved on ‘Wrath of the Wilds’, lyrically inspired by Nordic mythology and folklore and delivered as a collection of beautifully structured, utterly engaging tracks that I can’t fault. It is a superb listen end to end.
The appeal for me lies in several elements; the well intonated rasping vocal growl, which has clarity of content, a bonus as the lyrics are fascinatingly esoteric. I like how the vocals are just set slightly back in the sound, drawing you in, contrasting perfectly with the abundance of mid-paced dark and often intricately convoluted melody, merged with the dark and driving element, which also courses through the album. All this combined makes it so engagingly listenable.
Opening title track ‘Nightmother’ with its militaristic drum rhythms and following track ‘The Whispering Night’ are both dramatic, dark drivers with that engaging meld of convoluted melody I mentioned.
This sets the mood and intent of the album. In contrast, the Bacchanalian’ Blood, Wine and Spirits’ introduces higher, more acerbic vocals, with a more melodic, melancholic leaning, and the second half haunting leadwork adds even more dimension to the release.
On ‘Hounds of Apophrades’, I love the haunting blackened melody that opens and repeatedly re-emerges across the track, erring on the brink of subtly symphonic towards the close.
After the slightly more laid-back predecessors, ‘Voidspawn’ opens as a contrasting shock to the system, building from a distance, culminating in a soul ripping scream. A dark driving beast of a track, the vocals drop to ground shaking depths at times, but still with a melodic undercurrent. ‘Fateweaver’ has an excellent haunting piano-led melody that phases seamlessly into a swathe of tremolo-picked riffs before the arrival of the lower vocals and melody. A beautifully contrasted piece of music.
The next track, ‘Aeon of the Wolves’, is a magnificently dark haunting beast that is elevated by second half leadwork, while ‘The Deadlight Descent’ is dark and mournful. This brings us to the final offering, ‘By Empty Cradles’, a superbly haunting and mournfully melodic closer, and a dramatic finale.
I love this album from end to end, but if I had to pick a couple of standout tracks, ‘Nightmother’, ‘Blood, Wine and Spirits’ and ‘Fateweaver’ have the edge, but it is a close call.
‘Nightmother’ was mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström [EAP]. The artwork is by Drowned Orange and will undoubtedly be of great interest to fans of Dissection, Naglfar, Lord Belial, and Sacramentum.
Available from wormlightsweblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nightmother (Digipak + Digital) and indiemerchstore.com/b/black-lion-records (Digipak).