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Painted Black - Raging Light (2017) - Review

Band: Painted Black
Album title: Raging Light
Release date: 6 October 2017 (digital), CD (TBA)
Label: Self-Released/WormHoleDeath

01. The Raging Light
02. Dead Time
03. The Living Receiver
04. Absolution Denied
05. Chamber
06. In The Heart Of The Sun
07. I Am Providence
08. Almagest

Seven long years after their highly acclaimed debut album, Cold Comfort, the Portuguese band Painted Black returns with their sophomore full-length album, Raging Light. The sound of the band changed a lot since then, which was already evident on their in 2014 released EP Quarto Vazio. If they started out as a atmospheric doom/death metal band back in 2001 and offered us an intriguing melancholic doom/death metal album in 2010, then showing their more progressive rock side on previous EP, now the things are much more versatile. Nevertheless, Painted Black is a group of five very talented musicians who strive to capture a perfect synthesis between aggression, occasional fast pieces and atmospheric yet emotional and intimate melancholic sections, now everything also in pretty much progressive way. I can easily say that after the masters Moonspell and Heavenwood, Painted Black is the third strongest dark metal force coming out from Portugal.

Raging Light is an adventurous album, it offers more than one hour of very dynamic sound that ranges from utter melancholy to solar progressive rock/metal and energetic almost death metal groove. Technical performance of these musicians is not questionable, they can combine various elements into such very coherent flowing sound and thus take the listener with ease through many different moods. On Raging Light you'll find plenty of captivating melodic lines, diverse vocal sections, from emotive clean vocals to harsh growling ones and everything in between. Strong, powerful and cohesive rhythmic line is the backbone here, but what's most noticeable is a magnificient guitar job which doesn't need to hide neither from the progressive/atmospheric metal giants like Opeth; there are many likeable guitar leads as well. The band does try to experiment quite a lot with these sonorities, but the listener will soon notice that originality is not their strongest point, some of the parts or sometimes entire songs have too much in common with Katatonia, Anathema, Opeth and Amorphis, but also Moonspell, Paradise Lost, Dream Theater, Death, Control Denied and Heavenwood elements can be found, and I find that certain more emotional/melancholic segments sound very similar to the likes such are Hanging Garden and The Chant, even though that Painted Black are most of the time sounding heavier.

Nevertheless, if we leave the originality factor behind, Painted Black did a very good album which starts with the amazing album title track, one of the strongest, most vibrant and dynamic pieces on this album. I find it always very appealing when the band is able to compose songs that unite so many different elements and create such a flowing, rich and cohesive, yet very emotive sound. It really grabs you with its captivating vibe and many quite catchy melodies. Painted Black are able to create also some evocative cinematic ambiances, for example in the great "The Living Receiver", and then going in full death groove in "Dead Time", but still always mantain certain subtle melancholy. In all of the tracks there are lot of shifts between fast, mid tempos and slow parts, with some of the tracks that nicely build up the tension. "Absolution Denied" and in my opinion rather mellow runner "Chamber", with a part that reminds very much to Moonspell, are also enjoyable tracks which show how much this band has evolved and matured in those years. The proggy "In The Heart Of The Sun" and the subtle, dark and epic 17 minutes long closing masterpiece "Almagest", which features some nicely arranged classical instruments, sounds like if it'll be composed by the dark side of Mikael Åkerfeldt. One of the highlights of the album is also "I Am Providence", with enjoyable mix of death/doom, atmospheric metal and highly emotional segments.

Raging Light is a strong album that shows natural progression of this band. Doom metal elements are not so evident like on their debut album, but are still there. It's one of those albums that should appeal to many different types of listeners, it's recommended to fans of doom metal, progressive metal, gothic metal and death metal, to those who like some melancholy in music, but above all to those who want music to be technically perfect and at the same time also deep. Raging Light shines also because of a good production which certainly adds some depth and power to this already good release. I won't say that I prefer Raging Light over their debut album Cold Comfort, which had maybe even more atmosphere and depth, but most certainly this album is a musical and compositional culmination in every aspect for Painted Black.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10