Review 1734 : Usnea – Bathed In Light – English

Usnea wants to drown you.

Formed in 2011 in the United States, the Blackened Funeral Doom Metal band composed of Justin Cory (guitar/vocals), Joel Williams (bass/vocals), Johnny Lovingood (guitar) and Zeke Rogers (drums) is releasing Bathed in Light, their fourth album, in 2023 on Translation Loss Records.

Bathed In Light, the first track, begins by hypnotizing us with some melodious and soothing notes, overshadowed by some sampled vocals in the background, then the band reveals all its heaviness. The slow rhythmic shelters some massive screams too, but also some terrifying and more aggressive cries that we find again on The Compleated Sage and its first fast moments which let Black Metal influences fully express themselves. The band will return to oppressive and haunting sounds while offering heady leads and impressive vocal parts to lead us to To The Deathless, which starts with soaring keyboards. The band’s riffs soon become part of this airy mix, strengthening the tormented melodies while adding dark vocal parts, and then the sound gradually calms down until it disappears, followed by From Soot and Pyre which brings heavy melancholy and haunting vocals back. The cohabitation between Doom and Black Metal is natural, allowing one’s piercing sound to contrast the other’s sound mass while vocal appearances get lost in the rhythmic, which will fade away to leave its place to Premeditatio Malorum and its soft introduction. But the beautiful haunting clean sound will once again be overwhelmed by the impressive riffs’ strength and slowness complemented by the two screams, but also by mystical choirs which make the sound hazy before slowing it down again to lead us to Uncanny Valley, the last composition, which more or less applies the same approach with a long clean introduction. Vocals will appear earlier, feeding the ominous atmosphere, then oppression will suddenly choke us at full speed, before letting slowness and terrifying voices accompany us until the last moments.

With Bathed In Light, Usnea suffocates and amazes us all the time, combining Doom’s oppressive and massive slowness with scathing Black Metal breakthroughs, linked by hypnotic melodies. Here is an album you must live.


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