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Light This City Remains Of The Gods

Light This City - Remains Of The Gods
01. Remains Of The Gods
02. Obituary
03. A Guardian In A Passerby
04. The Hunt
05. Letter To My Abuser
06. Fractured By The Fall
07. The Static Masses MP3
08. Guiding The North Star
09. Your Devoted Victim
10. The Last Catastrophe
2005 Prosthetic Records

Reviewed by: Kirby Unrest   //   Published: 6/18/2005

The Bay Area has been a breeding ground for thrash metal legends for the last twenty odd years: Metallica, Testament, Death Angel, Heathen, Vio-lence, Exodus, and Possessed. And while that final entry is often credited solely with being the creators (and/or at the very least, the band who coined the term) of death metal, their perfection of the thrash side of their sound is undeniable. Each of these bands had the trademarks of the genre down to a science; furious speed, melodic overtones and a dedication to superior riffs, forging a backbone thick enough to sustain all these years and influence countless bands in various subdivisions and well outside of it's confines.

While up and coming Bay Area act Light This City probably won't be counted among the alumni listed above anytime soon, their debut is a strong effort, faithful to the thrash icons from their stomping grounds, and though shades of black/death metal, hardcore and electronic currents seep into the mix, the band stay true to the Toxic Waltz above all else.

The assault begins with the title track, where the drumming really steals the show, though the harmony driven guitars and harsh vocals don't go unnoticed. I also like the lyrics on this one a lot. Frontwoman Laura Nichol utilizes superb metaphors to convey various social ills and personal problems. The next cut, "Obituary" is easily my favorite, with its great tempo and excellent, catchy riffs. The songwriting flows very well, and keeps things interesting, which in the often repetitive nature of thrash metal, is not an easy task. "Guardian In A Passerby" features solid bass-work, while the following songs, "The Hunt" and "Letter To My Abuser" showcase hints of death metal in the band's sound. "Fractured by The Fall" and "The Static Masses" are propelled by double bass insanity, killer leads and pure headbanging intensity. "Guiding The North Star" has a classic heavy metal flair to it, lots of layered guitars, with an almost radio friendly feel in some spots, whereas "Your Devoted Victim" has a glimmer of audio experimentation, but otherwise is another barbed wire laced beatdown of thrash glory. About the only real deviation from this straight forward (though slightly modified for modern times) foray into classic metal is the closing instrumental, "The Last Catastrophe." A sonic crescendo is built from a creepy, clean progression as the drums pound and the anger builds and while it's nothing to write home about, it's still a nice change of pace. Then again, with the preceding nine offerings being of such consistent quality, another tune in the same vein couldn't have hurt.

As indicated previously, I think the lyrics are noteworthy. While I'm not going to make any sort of claims that they'll change your life, take your breath away or deserve to treated as literary wonderworks, they are undoubtedly honest, heartfelt and really fit the music well, in both atmosphere and approach. While a cursory glance may uncover lines that some would find juvenile, a more in depth study yields a trove of clever metaphors, thoughtful questions, and one person's search for answers in love and faith, and a struggle for answers to the problems that plague the world. Vocalist Laura Nichol is able to project these ideas and emotions powerfully with her dynamic screams and guttural growls. She tends to stick to those two patterns the most, but alters both enough that it seems her range extends more; though one thing is for sure, her abilities easily stand up to any past/present female vocalist in extreme music, and rivals much of the output from the male contingent of the scene.

While LTC isn't a trio, Remains Of The Gods was recorded as one. The other two players featured here are bassist Mike Dias and drummer Ben Murray. When it comes to the low end of things, Dias has no problem holding it down. His contributions are confident, filled with talent, and snap, crackle and pop with the grace of a born performer. Dias offers up interesting fills, and while he has a ways to go before he reaches the upper echelons that the masters of his craft inhibit, a good start is established here. Yet, the genius most easily identifiable here resides within drummer Ben Murray. Not only are his skills on the skins of stellar quality, he played all the guitar tracks on Remains Of The Gods, wrote every song... and he's 17 years old. Age may be nothing but a number (countless MySpace scumbags have proved this), and though other musicians of lesser years have accomplished more, it's still quite a feat to write a damn good metal record on your own, and Murray handles it flawlessly. Like their Bay Area brethren in Animosity, Light This City put bands half their literal, and often musical, age to shame.

The production, courtesy of Zack Ohren of the increasingly famous Castle Ultimate Studios, is not only another outstanding achievement for Mr. Ohren, but also an additional merit badge for Remains Of The Gods."To add to the overall quality of the whole tunic is the fitting artwork from Mario Garza and RobotPlague.com, which unites defining artwork of Western Civilization and imagery that is both timeless and very much today.

Bottom Line: Remains Of The Gods is not on a thrash metal masterpiece, but it is a step upon the staircase to that goal. Though both fresh-faced as a band and individuals, Light This City have the potential for great things, not only as a thrash metal unit, but classically minded musicians. Though Remains... has a few weak spots, its strong suits outweigh most of the negative traits. If you enjoy bands like Darkest Hour, Enforsaken, Black Dahlia Murder and early The Haunted recordings, or dig any of the above thrash institutes, check Remains Of The Gods out. Prosthetic definitely has scored a winner with this one.

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