HARTLIGHT Album Review: “As Above, So Below”

HARTLIGHT
“As Above, So Below”
Album Review by Iron Mathew

10/10

Hartlight are a symphonic metal band from Switzerland formed in 2019 by singer Noemie Allet (Knights Of Heliopolis, ex Phoebus The Knight), and multi-instrumentalist Adrien Djouadou (Knights Of Heliopolis, ex Phoebus The Knight), releasing the bands debut E.P. ‘From Midland And Beyond’ in 2022, and debut full length album ‘As Above, So Below’ in 2024…

…the bands line-up for the album completed by drummer Pierre D’Astora and guitarist Adrien Guingal (Knights Of Heliopolis, ex Phoebus The Knight) – although D’Astora has since left the band, and has been replaced by Guillaume Remih (Knights Of Heliopolis, ex Phoebus The Knight).

The new album is a concept album surrounding “alchemy, magic and introspection to reach a better life”, and features the bands unique blend of heavy, progressive, power, Gothic and symphonic metal – a blend that’s both emphatic and dramatic! For fifty tension filled minutes and eight songs, Hartlight take the listener on a magical journey of aural delight and discovery – the title song ‘As Above, So Below’ launching the album in epic fashion! The stunning symphonic nature of ‘As Above, So Below’ (the song) hits hard, the band setting one helluva cinematic atmosphere, sending chills down the spine of every single listener – from the top of the neck right down to the very bottom! The band are elegance personified, and if you thought Hartlight’s debut E.P. ‘From Midland And Beyond’ was exciting, you ain’t heard nothing yet – ’cause this full length effort elevates the excitement level to new and uncharted heights! And just an early advisory, ‘As Above, So Below’ (the album) is gonna need more than only one listen to take onboard everything the band have to offer – there’s just so much to take in! Picking up the pace, ‘That Which Stagnates Is A Liar’ plants one foot firmly on the traditional heavy metal monitor, the other rooted in symphonic metal territory, Hartlight delivering one of those genre hopping border breaking songs that defy pigeon-holing! And the vocal range of singer Noemie is so wide, ranging from soaring symphonic to a classic heavy metal roar.

What an immediate and superb opening double, ‘The Land Of The Star’ making it a triple – the band surging forth at an incredible rate of knots! The pace of ‘The Land Of The Star’ outstrips both the previous songs by the proverbial country mile, Hartlight delivering a song to wake up every mosh pit, and rock the heads back and forth of every single metalhead in the world – by ‘eck pet there’s gonna be some reet sore necks after this ‘un! And ‘The Land Of The Star’ is the shortest song on offer too, clocking in at a little over four minutes in length, whereas four other songs on offer stretch past the six minute mark, and another, over nine! There’s just so much music here to check out, the album striding on with shoulders back and head held high – ‘Bound To Eternity’ displaying more majesty than everything heard so far. The cinematic atmosphere from earlier returns en masse as the band continue to up the ante and raise the bar with regards to their unique blend of so many different styles of metal – progressive, Gothic and symphonic to mention just three!

I reckon the bands following is gonna grow considerably too, Hartlight beckoning many new fans into the bands soundscape with the release of ‘As Above, So Below’ (the album) – it’s just so fucking infectious and varied! ‘Let The Fangs Bite’ opens with the most eerie atmosphere heard so far, Hartlight launching headlong into a buzzing barrage of mid tempo anthemic come hymn-like metal – metal that’ll have everyone quaking at the knees, for ‘Let The Fangs Bite’ is a goosebump inducing slice of spine tingling excitement! The specks of thrill and adventure littered throughout the entire album is stunning, every song on offer having its own story to tell, contributing to the overall “alchemy, magic and introspection” themes of ‘As Above, So Below’ (the album). Applause where applause is due, no hecklers please! And it’s usually at this stage of a review I run out of words to describe the sheer beauty of the music on offer, however – I’m more prepared than ever this time, I’ve already checked my Thesaurus and have a lengthy list close at hand! So let’s saunter on with the relaxing nature of ‘The Garden In The Heart’, featuring both female and male vocals – planting one helluva different identity on the album! The band are pecking on the barn door to ballad territory here, a mellow and serene yet very bold ambience rising high in the air, so feel free to raise your lighters and sway from side to side.

And as the album canters into its final furlong, the sound of traditional heavy metal pours outta ‘And Nature Unfolds Once Again’, the band bringing to the fore the iconic “gallop” of old school heavy metal and blending it with jaw dropping symphonic metal elements! The energy level here is off the fucking charts, ‘And Nature Unfolds Once Again’ oozing an immense infectious nature to satisfy even the most peckish of appetites! And to the albums final hurrah, the nine minute plus ‘All Life Begins In The Dark’, by far and away the longest song on offer – and what a song! The band are at their most dramatically epic here, ‘All Life Begins In The Dark’ opening with the darkest feel of any song on ‘As Above, So Below’ (the album), Hartlight adopting a mid tempo hard hitting attitude before letting all hell break loose with a startling turn of breakneck speed! Only in short bursts though, ’cause too many will surely wreck the necks of every listener, fan and follower! But hey, you only live once so what the hell – so put the ‘As Above, So Below’ (the album) CD in and start necking some beers to salute and celebrate a sparkling album. And as my great friend Markus Eck always says, “metal is the message…and the message is loud”. Amen brother, amen!

Overall, a stunning album featuring a truly unique blend of heavy, progressive, power, Gothic and symphonic metal.

TRACKLIST

As Above, So Below
That Which Stagnates Is A Liar
The Land Of The Star
Bound To Eternity
Let The Fangs Bite
The Garden In The Heart
And Nature Unfolds Once Again
All Life Begins In The Dark

https://hartlight.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/hartlightband

This review is the property of Iron Mathew, Frenzy Fire, Metalmessage, and Metal Gods TV. It is strictly prohibited to copy any part of this review, unless you have both of the parties’ permission, or are the band/record label/PR company in question. Failure to adhere to these instructions will be considered as Plagiarism and you will be reported to the appropriate authorities


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