I had to make sure that this was the same New Light Choir that crafted Volume II, which as I recall from ’15 was “my personal favorite dark/rock album of the year.” That’s quite a statement and I may have to revisit it. Unfortunately, the band’s forthcoming record, Torchlight doesn’t do the same for me. Even though I still love the vocal end here, New Light Choir seems to have pushed further towards the doom end of things, which gives the performance a musty, raw vibe that I just don’t particularly care for. The disc is warm, but perhaps it is too warm. Another issue I ran into on the disc was that it was quite too long, and that’s not a good sign as this is only a forty-five minute performance. Though as I was listening to the album, I felt as if it was slowly grating on me after the seventh cut. Yeah, I’ll say that “Golden Ring” was the point where I’d taken out my MP3 player to see just how much was left.
Even though this is a great doom throwback, it doesn’t seem to do anything for me that the progenitors of the genre haven’t, but there are some unique punk stylings in “Queen Of Winter” and some black metal nods in “Last March.” I also have to say that I’m quite fond of the metal anthem, “Adamantine.” Even though the song might purportedly be about some kind of great sword, it is definitely a powerful anthem to heavy metal music in general. Perhaps it is just the kind of disc that needs a few more plays before it really sinks in.
It is obvious to me that New Light Choir tried to adapt less common elements into their brand of melodic heavy metal, which I definitely appreciate, though do not find quite as appealing as on the last album. I would certainly say that the band have overhauled their sound, but it should certainly appeal a bit more to heavy metal purists and that certainly can’t be a bad thing, right?
That being said, there’s just something about the performance that really bugs me and I just can’t seem to figure it out. Maybe it is the fact that I fell completely head over heels in love with Volume II, decided to marry her and realized that she is now a completely different person after marriage. So this might signify a type of divorce, if you will. This isn’t the version of the band that I recall, even though I fully respect a band’s willingness to change sounds and styles at their leisure.
I’d be a fool to say that the record doesn’t deliver on a musical level, it is structurally sound and rather tasteful. There’s a lot of class to be had here and it feels very pure in that respect. You know, it might even be the production value that turns me off a bit here, as I feel that a vastly mudded sound doesn’t suit my palette.
Regardless, I am sure there are those of you who will jump over hoops to put this one into your personal collection and I’d be perfectly happy with that. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this record and would much prefer Volume II, but will at least acknowledge and shake the proverbial hand of this disc. It deserves that much at least. If you’ve seen the video meme where the gentleman hugs and shakes the hands of various people as he leaves a stage, the portion where he holds out his hand and shakes with one of those people would signify my thoughts here quite well. It’s certainly worthy of recognition and a fine performance. It would be downright discourteous of me to say that these guys made a sub-par record. It just wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and that is completely fine.
Torchlight definitely does what it is supposed to do, which is to offer a raw, yet modern mixture of doom and heavy metal to the masses. Though not quite my glass of Dr. Pepper, I don’t have any ill will towards Torchlight and would consider it a fairly strong, if not solid release. Mileage may vary and you can check out the disc at the link below.
(10 tracks, 45:00)
Purchase HERE (Svart Records)