EP Review: A LIGHT WITHIN Epilogue
A few years back, I was suggested a rather peculiar EP by A Light Within titled Body Matter with a tracklisting of simply page numbers. The style was undeniably unique. It fell somewhere on a spectrum between post-metal, prog, and space rock. With further investigation, I found out that the EP was the middle-piece of a trilogy with Preface being previously released a couple years before. And with patience, I can finally witness the third and final piece to the A Light Within puzzle, Epilogue. It's important to note that all three releases stay consistent in the page number theme, which allows for the plunge into the musical journey to feel as if you are peering into a cryptic diary filled with emotional passages, secrets, and plot-twists.
The Kansas City-based quintet consists of Kyle Brandt (vocals/keyboards), Jeff Irvine and Josh Bennet (guitars), Andy Schiller (bass), and Nick Sloan (drums). Additionally, Paul Malinowski (Season to Risk, Shiner) recorded and mixed the EP while Acle Kahney (Tesseract) mastered the four tracks.
Before diving into these songs, it's necessary to address one of A Light Within's most unique attributes. The vocal delivery is simply incomparable. If I am forced to draw some similarities, I'd point to the gothic undertones of Type O Negative merging with a British drawl akin to David Bowie or The Cure. Of course, that doesn't quite do Brandt's vocal style justice, but I most definitely felt some parallels with the aforementioned artists at moments. If I was being picky, I would hope for some possible unclean vocals in addition. Understandably, maybe growls aren't of Brandt's vocal style, however, a guest appearance to really push the climax to more extreme heights would be most impressive.
Opener track, "Page #9 (Shells)," sets a very moody atmosphere, one constantly in the state of building momentum. Although the track could've benefitted with an explosive ending, the song succeeded in establishing the emotional-driven dynamics of the band. "Page #54 (Chemical Drive)," has a song structure that is even more powerful, with possibly the catchiest hook in the band's discography so far. Beeps and boops accurately provide the setting for "Page #27 (Surrounded by Astronauts)" before launching into a proggy, space rock jam. Though I claimed the vocals are particularly one-of-a-kind, "Page #35 (An Educated Gentleman)" however, sounds a lot like Chino Moreno as Brandt's voice is reminiscent of Palms or Deftones' softer songs.
While the understanding of songwriting, as well as a skill in musicianship, is most definitely present, I feel this project’s best characteristic is their mastery of production. I’m not too much of an audiophile, but listening through my tiny computer speakers vs. my headphones made a major difference in picking up on the panning of noise from one ear to the other or the swells of volumes with each riff. I'm uncertain how much of this magnificence is attributed to the production team or the musicians, regardless, the clarity within each song's soundscape is beyond immersive.
Considering I have subconsciously awaited a follow-up to the EP that originally got me hooked on A Light Within, Epilogue perfectly satisfied my desires. Fair warning, this project's style is not extremely heavy by any means, but functions and excels in the use of atmosphere, reflection, and dynamic range. If you're into the subtleties of post-metal and space rock, lose yourself in this emotionally moving and engaging EP.