So, let’s look at SEVER’s July 2022 Sadistic Sorcery demo as the moment of conception. What this does, in effect, is makes the April release of At Midnight, By Torch Light its birth. Now, what hath founder and (yep, you guessed it) sole entity Ma-Kaxul birthed?

‘Abyssonaut’ instantaneously assaults, clanging and cataclysmic, synths, strings and skins attacking from all sides, but retaining a sense of cohesion, impressive in such a storm. While the drums act more as a placeholder than anything else, I’d have liked to see a more dynamic role in this opener, but we’ve still 5 songs remaining, so I’ll withhold judgment. Aha, and it’s a good job I did, ‘Lunar Strain’ resolving the mechanization issue nicely, the thrusting, forward motion, cymbal crashes and above all “natural” feel of the rhythm here befitting the more primal execution, riffs chugging along, Ma-Kaxul’s snarling vocals perfectly suited to SEVER’s style.

I’m hearing some DENOUNCEMENT PYRE in ‘Sunset In The West’, a sense of the inverted cosmos, almost Pre-K COVENANT, a smattering of SARGEIST, but not mimicking any one exclusively. I’ll take a hard pass on synths in much of my black metal, but they’re used to grand effect over the whole of the debut, lending another layer that becomes integral; purposeful, yet not a shred of pomp.

The title track shimmers, pulsating in the forest, a light fading, piecing, fading again, Ma-Kaxul’s recitations more spoken than sung, again fitting the music, a malevolent, breathy whisper from the space between the trees and beyond. ‘Eastern Boar’, at just over 9 minutes, captures the attention, and – after multiple listens – still denies release. And I believe that’s where SEVER’s firstborn will thrive over time. Layered, multifaceted, with the feeling that there’s something after each listen you’ve “missed”, or with each listen you’ve found…At Midnight, By Torch Light.
Review By: Lord Randall

At Midnight, By Torch Light
Iron Bonehead