Centuries craft their darkest and most dynamic material to date on their sophomore full-length album, The Lights of This Earth Are Blinding.
This formerly Florida-based act, whose lineup is now based both stateside and in the UK, possess a dark sound that seems to spawn from the most harrowing aspects of human existence. Their music is both seething with anguish and sorrow; emotions that are heightened by a blackened brand of furious hardcore. Centuries were last heard on their blistering 2013 album, Taedium Vitae, an emotionally potent and devastating release that scorched everything in its path in a mere 20 minutes. Outdoing such a promising debut could prove to be a very daunting task, but Centuries do it with ease on The Lights of This Earth Are Blinding.
The band’s blackened hardcore stylings are proudly put on display on shorter, rage-fueled tracks such as “The Lights of This Earth Are Blinding”, “Bygones” and “Soil”. These brief, two-minute blitzes fast, gritty, and full of the blackened malevolence that made Taedium Vitae such a formidable record. However, rather than stick to the old formula the band introduce numerous rhythmic shifts and changes in riff structure during these tracks, making for a chaotic listen. The d-beat crust assaults often jerk in off-kilter ways, and the riffs will begin straightforward only to morph into angular shapes. Right off the bat the band showcase that they did not want to write the same record twice. But tracks like these are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Wooden Hands” follows up the rampage of the album’s title and opening track with a surprising display of melancholic, folkish acoustic guitar. The guitarist plucks this haunting melody for the first 90 seconds of the song before the band come crashing in with a masterful beatdown of metallic, complex hardcore. Acoustic guitars make another appearance in the album’s penultimate track, “Fury”. Here the band discard their ties to hardcore in exchange for an atmospheric slow-burner that begins with solo acoustic folk, and ends in a climax of heavy ambiance and monolithic guitars. The track brings to mind the softer, more acoustic centered songs in Converge‘s discography, or even Jacob Bannon’s Wear Your Wounds project.
The band opt for towering, menacing sludge on tracks like “The Climb” and “Nul Oreitur”. The former track unleashes gigantic, dissonant, angular grooves that call Remission-era Mastodon to mind, only much more destructive. The latter track, which closes out the record, is a seven-minute leviathan whose larger than life riffs stomp listeners into dust and even bleeds into brief bursts of sludgy, groove-laden hardcore.
The Lights of This Earth Are Blinding is a beast of a record that is insurmountable heavy, pissed, and is very multifaceted while staying grounded in the band’s root sound. Centuries have seriously outdone themselves with this opus.
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Label: Southern Lord Records
Favorite Tracks: “Wooden Hands”, “Bygones”, “Soil”, “The Climb”, “The Endless Descent” and “Fury”
For Fans Of: Converge, Protestant, Cursed, Baptists and Jungbluth