Crawl / The Way To Light – Split (2013) — CS REVIEW

IMG_7507 copyTwo Texas entities far from the spotlight bring together two variations on heavy, inhospitable atmosphere.

The Way To Light I’m just getting to know. The emanation he breathes forth on this tape has severe atmosphere, it’s subtle pull eventually inescapable. Eerie, isolated, and damp — entirely hypnotic.

Crawl is a being you should know if you followed me on Equivoke. I’ve written at length before about the prior efforts of this disciplined entity. The new rite is austere and measured pounding doom in a furtherance of ritual experimentation, leaving a wake of distorting memories from the grip of death it invokes.

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It’s been a fair clip since Crawl’s last outing. If you remember, Mine Maille Shone Not The Light of Death took what was a industrial tinged mangling of bass/drum driven sludge from the first demo and shaped it into a expansive, more eternally dark and foreboding plummet.

On this new split with occult ambient sorcerer The Way To Light (which I’ll get too soon) Crawl present “Sacrifice To The Cult of Undeath”, an indication that patience within his specific moiling doom is inching him towards better articulation, deeper ambience and more dynamic expression of that gnarled sludge underbelly.

First is Crawl’s half. “Sacrifice To The Cult of Undeath” opens on deep church bells ringing softly, slowly. A warp to single percussive strikes in a cave-like ambiance is followed by a unexpected eruption. Maimed yells cleave into the doom trench both instruments dig. The bass tone is resonant, creaking forth for a time and eventually picking up steam with the drum punishment.

In the height of this sludgy dirge’s ascent it’s lumbering gait grooves steadily, low and high, with pretty satisfying weight. The recital of death sacraments scratch at ones ears — provoking death itself to lay restitution down upon the speaker. When everything crashes to a halt, back to just minimal percussion, it’s swift and heavy followed by silence and (of course) tape hiss.

Crushing as in previous forms to be sure but with continued extrapolation on the more subtle aspects. In this entities’ short period of life “Sacrifice To The Cult of Undeath” shows its most coherent and clear voicing so far — potentially drawing out inspirations from live ceremonies in death worship, and broadening further from rawer beginnings of the demo.

IMG_7510 copyThe Way To Light are not to be ignored. The power of “Visions of Pale Obscurities” is revealed slowly through quiet, thawing unease. A project that has a very alluring brand of ambient, somewhat symphonic folk that is very meditative. In other works like this there is consistent soothing spell put on the listener with a definite undercurrent of anxiety, some kind of unearthliness.

As mentioned I knew little about The Way To Light prior to being tipped off by this split and some conversations in the prior year. This has made me more conscious of this projects’ sincerity in compositions, and the depth of the atmosphere without running off a cliff. Having heard this, that threeway, and parts of both records I’m interested in the new split with Hoarders.

On to “Visions of Pale Obscurities”: I think this track can best be paired with the cover for the tape; indeed the title is apt as well. Shrouded, heavy and moist in contemplative darkness. A hazed melody rises slowly from this blanket and is gradually consumed by strummed, spectral rhythms and croakily whispered words of misery, detachment, deprivation of sense and spirit.

The build is gripping. Its repetitive, drugged and obscured synth and reverb-steeped acoustic revolutions envelope the listener quickly and within the seven minutes only minimal spikes in notes and texture form aberrations in the steady, pulsing spell; ending exactly as it started.

The amount of depth in this fairly simple approach is surprising. The Way To Light suceed again in soaking up a lot of mood in a short time, without drowning in effects or leaving the atmosphere bland. The end is as vaporous and haunting as the entrance, the seal retaining that eerie vibe that cuts past the muted beauty found elsewhere.

IMG_7504 copyIf you chose the tape as well as the digital download, it’s packaging is noteworthy. Blood red translucent cassette with no labeling, and a single insert with extremely appropriate art as well as lyrics. Simple, alluring, frames the music very well.

The man behind Crawl was nice enough to gift me my copy, and some additional regalia on the packaging. It not only looks nice in gold on white but the tape didn’t have a scratch on it from that long journey. If you get a copy from The Way To Light’s store or bandcamp I don’t know if similar additions can be expected.

I have to recommend those reading pick up a copy of this. The tape is nice DIY shit but you can also just get the digital copy.

Crawl remains in keeping with the title, and slowly with persistence altering the hammering dread with which he deals towards more engaging places. The Way To Light will impress through stilled strings and synths, projecting a significant and distinct aura which floods the already grey landscape of this split with further frigidity.

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