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Bereft Of Light : Hoinar

Daniel N's solo project debut straddles a fairly effective boundary between DSBM and Atmospheric Doom.

'Hoinar' is the debut album of Romanian one-man band Bereft Of Light. I've seen the odd touch of positivity on Google from those around the world that have already listened to this release so I was curious to see if I shared their perspective.

The first thing I'll say that this is a slow-burner. Doom in general is supposed to be slow but it takes aeons for this album to actually kick in. I'm all for a good intro - indeed, I'm a huge fan of Ambient music in general - but the acoustics at the start do take too long. After that, it's all about fusing raw Black Metal with tortured vocals, which occasionally veer into acoustic passages. From time to time there's a section of somewhat annoying clean vocals but they're not prevalent, fortunately enough. I wish there was more to say than that but there isn't; that's basically all that happens for the entire album. I think it's a bit of a stretch to call this a Black/Doom release but because there's an atmosphere that appeals to me, I'm going to boldly plough ahead and dub this as a very slight Black/Doom album.

I'm a fan of Black Metal. Indeed, I spent a lot of years specifically rooting out Eastern European Black Metal bands because it was their rawness that appealed to me the most. That side of me is appeased on this release. Vocally, Bereft Of Light are strong, not that the mix helps them demonstrate it much. I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest that Daniel N. can get near Rainer Landfermann on Bethlehem's 'Alles Tot' but he's good. Normally, I'd be inclined to suggest that the production holds back the music but to be honest, this is exactly the type of production I'd expect from a band that is essentially making a form of Black Metal. The mixing appears to be chaotic at best so good luck trying to figure this release out if musicianship is specifically what you look for. Nonetheless, for what it is, I do enjoy "Hoinar". It's a no-frills attempt at blasting away the monotonous cobwebs of life, and it does that. There's a good level of alternation between the Black Metal aspects and acoustic segments so it doesn't get boring. The atmosphere generated really sits well with me too. I daresay I won't be able to explain that as well as I'd like to but I'll simply leave it at saying that I can feel the emotion of each track.

Although I do like this release and treat it as something of a Black Metal composition, I do have a couple of complaints. The main one - as ever - is that mere words alone cannot explain how much I dislike programmed drums. On this release, they sound like somebody is hitting chopsticks against an oven door. With the atmosphere present on this release, I suspect that they'd actually be better off without any kind of drumming rather than this apparent culinary improvisation. I also don't understand why there's even an attempt at an inlay here because there's barely anything in it, and what is in it is not discernible to the average human. At a guess, I'd say it's either a grim version of Lucinda Handwriting ("Lucifer Handwriting" perhaps? I need to copyright that!) from Microsoft Word or an inky ejaculation. Whichever it is, your guess is as good as mine as to whether the inlay contains lyrics, the meaning of life, or just a general insult.

Would I recommend this release? Yes, but only to people that like this kind of raw Black Metal. I daresay some people would call this "Depressive Black Metal" but that's never a term that I've really taken to, nor genuinely understood. If you envision a rawer version of Negură Bunget with tortured vocals then you'll get close to what Bereft Of Light are about. Atmospherically speaking, this is a release I enjoy. I'd struggle to compare this to other Black/Doom bands because it's not Doomy enough for such a comparison. Instead, I would encourage any fans of slower and more atmospheric Black Metal to give this CD a whirl because there's some merit to be found if you don't mind raw production with chopstick drum machines.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Uitare
2. Legămānt
3. Pustiu
4. Freamăt
5. Tārziu

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes

Visit the Bereft Of Light bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-02-20 by Ian Morrissey
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