Album Review: Cranial – Dark Towers/Bright Lights (Moment of Collapse Records)

45 minutes of sludgy doom, Cranial’s debut album was released on February 10th 2017 via Moment of Collapse Records.

Dark Towers/Bright Lights is just 4 tracks of crushing dirt-encrusted metal that draws influences & styles from all areas of the genre.

Dark’s haunting opening doesn’t quite prepare you for the sudden slip into pure aggression. The beat is dark & heavy, the riff & drums crashing like waves against a cliff eroded by years of the same pressure. There are no vocals until way over the 2 minute mark & even then it’s so guttural it can be barely picked out over the sonic assault elsewhere.

An exciting shift in style around the midpoint keeps things exciting. It slows things down going for a echoing effect with guitar work that builds to an incredible result. This is 11+ minutes of pure joy, the kind of brutality that is so enjoyable to listen too.

Cranial are like many modern doom metal bands, taking the core sound but choosing to experiment with ideas. When the end result is songs like Towers, we all win. It’s intense & dark riffs but beautiful moments of lightness are as uplifting as they are depressive.

With such little focus on vocals, it’s up to the rest to really step & shine. Something that is managed with ease. Everything compliments each other & never does anything sound like it’s clashing.

Cranial really wanted to paint a picture with this album, 4 songs & each one making up the album title. Bright’s opening screeching sound played alongside a subtle melody is an uncomfortable listen but one you instantly miss once it drops out. Not for long, mind you, as the heavy metal that follows more then makes up for it.

Surprisingly the heavier, metal sound drops way earlier here for an almost dejent style of music. It’s a bit odd sounding but it does fit well especially as that same guitar style is brought forward as the song picks up in the heavy department. You’re listening to a brand new song and your not. It’s not perfectly seamless but it is such a pleasure to hear, it really doesn’t matter.

Bright is the best song of the four, it’s sex for the ears.

This stunning album finishes with Lights. The journey is coming to an end & the pace is picked up. It’s a small change at the start that helps mark the song out as different. Not that it matters, this four-track album could as well been one complete 40+ minute song & it still would have sounded as spectacular.

There is a definite feeling of sadness as the final notes play out, the album is finished & that feeling of joy upon hearing something so exciting & new has passed. It says a lot about the record that the first thing you’ll probably want to do upon finishing is start it all again.

Dark Towers/Bright Lights Full Track Listing:

1. Dark
2. Towers
3. Bright
4. Lights

Dark Tower/Bright Lights is available now to buy & stream via major streaming services such as iTunes. You can also buy it via Moment of Collapse Records here. You can find out more about the band by checking them out on Facebook.

Cranial - Dark Towers/Bright Lights (Moment of Collapse Records)
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