Sacramento, California offers a stark contrast to doom metal's traditional breeding grounds, like the corners of England that seem to be perpetually shrouded in medieval darkness, or the dour, rain-soaked, mountainous Pacific Northwest. In Sacramento, the sun radiates a maniacally cheerful, golden-yellow light that kisses the flat horizon on three sides before finally disappearing nightly behind the coastal mountain range.
But, as homegrown doom band CHRCH understands, the sun presents its own type of heaviness: It’s so hot and dry, in fact, that there’s been a drought going on there for years, causing many people to forgo the plants in their yard and think twice before washing their cars. In the middle of the summer, opening a door from an air-conditioned building into the 106-degree heat feels like the flaming tendrils of actual Hell suddenly licking your entire body, mocking the false sense of security you found in the artificial cold, daring you to take another step.
CHRCH's take on their chosen genre, showcased on their new record, Light Will Consume Us All, illustrates the pervasive heaviness that only someone who grew up in a hot climate understands: The same life-giving, gaseous ball in the sky we all look toward to keep us warm, regulate our vitamin D levels, and grow our food can just as easily snuff us out.
Similarly to their debut album, Unanswered Hymns,—for which, I should disclose, I was hired to do promo back in 2015—the new record consists of three monstrous tracks, ranging between nine and 20 minutes. Each song dances between slow, delicate quietness and sudden buildups, making way for earth-shattering riffs that sneak in and hit you with full force, much like opening a door into the heat of the Sacramento Valley.
At its core, CHRCH stands as a beacon representing the war between dark and light that exists within the world, ourselves, and any great tale—and the ultimate triumph of the light that awaits if one is patient. Take that as a metaphor, and you’ll find the optimism that good will eventually triumph over evil. Take it literally and you’ll face the fact that, no matter what, the earth will ultimately be destroyed by the sun as the hydrogen fuel in its core depletes, forcing it to expand into an unrelenting red giant. Or take an uncomplicated glance and you might simply see a band looking to the impending arrival of the oppressive Sacramento heat, resigning themselves to its power.
No matter what, ultimately, the light wins.
Light Will Consume Us All is out on Neurot Recordings this Friday. Stream the whole thing below.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey US.