Review: “The Purity of Grief” by No Light Escapes

Bands have been known to change their name for a whole host of reasons but when Technical Damage became No Light Escapes in 2020 citing the transformation of their sound and mission for the future, it certainly raised an eyebrow. As a collective, the band started out in 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia with debut EP “Damaged Nation” followed by 2018’s “The Introspect” which was followed by an extensive run of shows throughout Western Canada. Returning to the studio to begin the production of their sophomore album “The Purity of Grief” with Tim Creviston (Spiritbox, Misery Signals), the choice was made by vocalist Kurtis Jeffery, guitarists Peter Bagchi and Harrison Shaw alongside the rhythm section of drummer Michael Bagchi and bassist Chris Mcllroy to change their name and make a fresh start…

…which is a curious thing as Technical Damage seemed to have a descent amount of momentum behind it and as opening cut “The Final Arbiter” reaches its finale, the suggested style shift doesn’t actually seem that great. Yes there is a greater sense of melody and the frenetic freedom of the prior sound has been traded in for a greater sense of control but that doesn’t seem to warrant a name change, so maybe there is maybe more to it than meets the eye. For what its worth, the opening cut is a brute of swirling dark moods, loaded with moments that stagger in tempo shift, bordering on Downtempo at times. Paying homage to The Dillinger Escape Plan with “High Tide“, which brings the chaotic sense of frenetic energy and Mathcore moments is a really interesting change up. Jeffery shows greater range in his vocal parts, reaching a shriller scream that is very “Miss Machine” era Greg Puciato and the guitar parts capture that Quentin Tarantino movie vibe with a sense style and danger while the solo that closes it is simply phenomenal. If those two opening cuts were a fair way apart stylistically, “Specters” brings us back to the Groove Metal of the opening cut with some real Lamb Of God moments that flow into “In Absentia“, making them very much the conjoined twins of the record. It’s here that the lyrical themes that ruminate on how we manage loss, trauma and pain in the many parts of our lives really begin to make sense and while they act may as the glue that holds the album together, “The Purity of Grief” distances itself from being a concept record on sheer diversity alone.

It does that because each song has very unique moments with no distinct patterns or formula that underpins everything but they have managed to capture an overall album feel with their use of atmosphere. Each cut is as thunderous as it is dark with the rhythm section betting a full work out; the Technical Metalcore riffs in abundance with clear influence from peers like After The Burial and Born of Osiris. The beautiful clean vocals from Alex Badger are the beauty to Kurtis Jeffery’s beast on “Cascade“, a cut which stands out like a sore thumb for all the right reasons before the blistering “Ruminate” sets the fretboards smoking as its crammed full of Technical leads before bringing the house down with DJent groove. “The Summit” packs an oriental punch which brings Within The Ruins to mind but the epic 7 and a half minute closer “The Phoenix” steals the show with icy synths that add weight and gravity to everything as the band move into the Progressive Metalcore territory for a magnum opus of a tune that is simply spellbinding. No Light Escapes have created an album that has an instant hook with familiarity but that is also so fresh that it feels like it was picked from the field only this morning; their years together have served them well, now should be the time they get rewarded [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. The Final Arbiter
  2. High Tide
  3. Specters
  4. In Absentia
  5. Cascade (ft. Alex Badger)
  6. Ruminate
  7. The Summit
  8. Phoenix

The Purity of Grief” by No Light Escapes is out 5th May 2021 and will be available over at bandcamp

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