Year of release: 2019
Released by: Cavum Atrum Rex
Rating: 7,8 / 10
The Minsk duo DOWNCROSS issued its second full-length so quickly that not everyone interested, including myself, managed to notice it. Formally, there was 7 month between two albums, but we must take into account that the physical release of the debut was delayed, and also understand that the promotion and distribution of new items, even in digital format, usually takes about six months. In my case, such swiftness had the opposite effect: I put the album aside, since the previous one had not yet disappeared from my head, and only remembered about it again at the beginning of April.
For some reason, the band members decided to release and promote “What Light Covers Not” by themselves. As far as I know, this decision, as well as the aforementioned haste, to a certain extent ruined the plans of Saturn Sector Rex, who worked with the debut album. But the Lord is their judge, not me. It is important - and surprising - that the second album shows noticeable improvements in most components. Like the debut, it offers an intense and very melodic Black Metal of a modern style, heavily based on the work of guitars. The band finally got rid of the legacy of MGŁA. It probably has some other shiny sources of inspiration, but either they are difficult to recognize, or I just don’t listen to that. Now we can confidently say that the Minsk duo has its own recognizable style. DOWNCROSS riffs have become easier to grasp, and not in the "sell out" sense: they are better thought out and more competently arranged on the album as a whole. "Mysteries of Left Path" also had cool riffs, but they needed to be chewed first. Here, all beauty hits the forehead. The most powerful track is, without a doubt, the title track. The riff style was reduced to a conditional common denominator, so there are fewer surprises and progressive moves. However, this did not affect the technique of the performance, and each ofthe songs still each its own character. More skillful work with sound gives them a little more energy.
Additional features on “What Light Covers Not” were picked up on strings and fretboard of a semi-acoustic guitar. The semi-acoustic interludes turned out to be so successful that the guitar received as many as two solo numbers, in the amount of almost 10 minutes (as well as at least a dozen short-term connections during the rest of the songs). Let this not scare you - both things on semi-acoustics are great. Interesting and independent, they are not at all reminiscent of typical fillers, recorded in haste to stretch the duration of the album.
Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about the lyrics to the album, since I haven’t got a disc yet. But they were very strong at the debut, and I doubt that the situation has changed in a negative direction. Vocals, for example, got better: Ldzmr finally stopped grunting like Bill Robinson (DECREPIT BIRTH), and began to use a more open and malicious screaming, as well as bestial growl that he can do much better. The voice no longer puts out a rush of music.
In the end, about the everyday: like the debut, “What Light Covers Not” does not receive the attention of the audience here in Belarus; these lowlifes keep on watching for Ales Tabolich's degradation process. And this is expected, but the fact that the French giant Season of Mist signs the peasant bullshit band MORA PROKAZA when it has a commercially promising DOWNCROSS almost at its side (the one who knows will understand what I mean) is incomprehensible.