HDR - 008 : Exiled From Light - Descending Further into Nothingness
Released: July 11th, 2009
Details: Pro CDr 8 Page Booklet/Standard Jewel Case - Unlimited Quantities
Genre: Depressive Black Metal


By: Matthew Caughlin

Exiled from Light – Descending Further into Nothingness [93/100]
Consensus: Mort’s finest release thus far.

Anybody who is familiar with Mort knows of his many solo projects including Serpenthrone and Winds of Sorrow. The young man is a grossly underrated and undiscovered genius as far as modern Black and Doom metal is concerned. After listening to a few of his previous albums, I was amazed at his songwriting abilities, despite the lack of equipment. (The production quality is perfect; lo-fi yet decipherable, but I wasn’t feeling the use of basic MIDI playback for the synths) However, this particular release sounds excellent, and even if I’m unsure what was used for his non-guitar parts, it still sounds excellent to me. ‘Neath the Oppressive Moonlight is an excellent enough track to make this album great, but all the other tracks seem to keep it just as wonderfully depressive and yet strangely beautiful. I highly recommend this release!


From: Winter Torments Zine www.myspace.com/winter_torment

I think since I first came into contact with Hypnotic Dirge Records, I have been hearing a lot about this release and now the long wait is over. New Zealend's Exiled from Light release their debut. Everything was handled by Mort {vocals,all instruments} according to the bio Mort had other more straight-forward Black Metal projects, but with Exiled from Light it seems he wanted more in the musical realm. Starting with an Ambient, melodic intro, the music begins with a dark harsh guitar sound, the bass and guitars have the more modern scratchy/harsh riffs and sound. Mort seems to keep the pace of the songs from mid-paced to slower than most black metal bands today. The drums are in the same mode played exceptionally well and fit well with the range of the rest of music. The vocals{when used} are scratchy screams. Fans of somber, depressive styled Black Metal will bow down to this band and its amazing debut! Defidently one of Hypnotic Dirge's best releases to date!!


From: Defiance Magazine www.myspace.com/defiancemagazine

Exiled from Light grace us with their debut "Descending Further into Nothingness". This eerie and hauntingly stunning piece of Depressive Black Metal showcases their style in style. You lose yourself in this album from the start, you fade into the background and let the guitars take over. Borderline Doom Metal, if your a fan of bands such as My Dying Bride then this album will hit the spot for you. It has the dark elements which make it doom-like and it also has the power of Black Metal on its side.

"Neath the Oppression Moonlight", "Lurking in the Twilight" and "Further into nothingness" make this album standout. The title of the album suits it well as that's what this album does, it really does make you descend further into nothingness and it makes you descend into the dark world that is Exiled from Light. This band really do come close to Doom Giants My Dying Bride so check them out and be melancholy with them.


From: Chronicles of Chaos Webzine www.chroniclesofchoas.com

Exiled From Light remains 'neath the darkness still with 'Descending Further Into Nothingness', a darkness full of melodic direness. Solo mastermind Mort eclipses his own grey life through his crumbling hands, now coming forth with a vibrating disc of muted and suppressed black metal from New Zealand. Containing six tracks from "Descending... (Intro)" to "Drowning... (Neath the Waves of Melancholy)" the titles present a forecast of screaming, somber solitude in the form of depressive black metal.

On "Further Into Nothingness" (after intro "Descending...") Mort digs into the ground as a shroud of mid-paced ambience made up of echoing guitars and crisp, steady drum blasts encircles. Screaming kicks in, and of course they are of the dry, mournful cries this toxic sub-genre of black metal is known for -- though Mort's screams aren't really depraved and maniacal in nature as say some of depressive / suicidal black metal's Swedish offspring are. The music continues, introducing slight nuances into the dark vibrations such as a breakdown that shakes off the battering bass drum and slows the music down.

Dying out into "Neath the Oppressing Moonlight", the title suggests Mort trying to find solace in the middle of the night and being interrupted by the strong, blinding glow of the moon. A melodic guitar breaks through the silence while Mort's screams follow through in an eruption that brings in the rest of the instruments. "Lurking Within Twilight" is a mid-climax of the utmost melancholy. Everything ties together to create a memorable change in the albums hypnotic repetitiveness. The music is unleashed into a barrage of depressive black metal at its best, while "Suffering Waits With Wide Open Eyes" plunges down into a pit of powerful vibrations, much stronger than before. A mid-time break into a contrast of simple beauty after is shattered by Mort's screams and more sinking heaviness.

From frost-bitten Canada's Hypnotic Dirge Records is a packaged wind of bleakness that arrives at your door with the name _Descending Further Into Nothingness_. Exiled From Light's Mort is involved in plenty of other projects such as When Mine Eyes Blacken, Nystagmus and Schizophrenia, all of which also try to capture and frame a piece of the "shadow self" of humanity. Expect more good things to come from this one-manned black metal ghost ship.

Reviewer: Yulon Zhu - 7/10


From: Nocturnal Cult Webzine www.nocturnalcult.com

Exiled From Light
Descending Further into Nothingness
Hypnotic Dirge Records 2009

Hailing from the unlikely shores of New Zealand comes the latest black metal project of mastermind Mort (Winds of Sorrow). Exiled From Light is depressive and atmospheric to the extreme. The synths and slow, atmospheric riffs have shades of Burzum though Exiled from Light is far more expressive in its despondency. After the ambient intro Descending, the title track corrodes any semblance of hope that lays within you. Slowly drifting riffs, and sorrowful shrieking vocals scrape away all positive emotions while haunting synths lurk within dense clouds of depression on the track. A lonely clean guitar ambles forward, as if in a mournful haze to announce the next track, Neath the Oppression Moonlight. Somber, fuzzy guitars rise up like ripples on a cold, still pond, slow and unmerciful. Lurking Within Twilight has the pacing of a funeral procession, lethargically advancing with grief as its sole concern, periods of tragic synth atmosphere break through the relentless march towards the damp earth. Possessing an almost gothic, new-wave feel, Suffering Waits With Wide Open Eyes is the most oppressive of the songs on the album. The riffs are heavier and darker lending an ominous tone to the depression meanwhile the song in its entirety is monotonous and repetitive instilling a hypnotic effect to the music. A moment of tranquility settles in towards the song's middle with twinkling keys and whimsical drums. The album closer, Drowning, is my favorite track on the album. Gloom pervades the tracks essence while galloping double-bass drums mirror the faster riffing adding a sense of dread and apprehension to the omnipresent dreariness. If you like your black metal atmospheric and melancholic and find Burzum perhaps a little too hopeful then Exiled From Light will extinguish all warmth and light from your shivering, naked body.


From: Hierophant Nox Webzine www.hierophant-nox.com

Exiled from Light is a depressive black metal project which comes courtesy of one Mort, a prolific New Zealander who also spreads his misery via acts Winds of Sorrow and When Mine Eyes Blacken. Anything with the label ‘depressive’ is approached with some trepidation these days, as the welter of ‘bands’ pushing this style over the past few years has been immense, often characterised by scant quality control and much derivation. Still, it would be foolish to turn away from all who continue to fly the flag of despondency, because there are still so many treasures issuing from the depths of the world’s collective suicidal mania. Exiled from Light are one of them.

What makes “Descending Further Into Nothingness” particularly engaging and mood-reflecting is its able-handed balance between solid black metal elements and slow, cold ambience. Opening, on “Descending…”, with a deep, synthy drift, overlaid by almost twinkling movements and pulsing interference, Mort shows himself to be thoroughly at home in the ambient community; the reflective, powerful sweeps and tones with which he decorates tracks such as “Lurking Within Twilight” would not be out of place on many of the purely ambient releases we have reviewed this year, and their expressive, moving nature is a tribute to this artist’s ability to successfully straddle the two worlds, excelling in both rather than splitting his talents.

For the harsher, more metallic elements are strong too – rather than being a contrast to the melancholy synths, the tortured guitars actually help to build the mood further, providing the kind of depth and snarl that ambience can’t always do alone. “Further Into Nothingness” is a great track for this, with the guitar’s anguished tone gradually becoming mired in the atmospheric backdrop, before some insistent percussion moves things along, paving the way for an impassioned, throat-rending vocal climax, Mort’s howl being pitched just the way the depressive black metal fan would want – incomprehensively desolate.

Despite the bite of the black metal movements, “Descending Further Into Nothingness” is an album in which to wallow in a kind of pre-suicide calm. Repetition renews the dark feelings, whilst subtle and clever re-use of the same or similar themes across the album gives the impression of movement, even if the destination ends up being back at the point of departure – a place of anguish and pain. An unostentatious and well-structured album, which should draw plenty of admirers from amongst the melancholy and the imaginative.

Ellen Simpson


From: Heathen Harvest Webzine www.heathenharvest.com

Depressive Black Metal has the unfortunate problem of being very easy to do in a home studio. It's not the worst genre in metal (either Tech Death or Folk Metal, I think), but it requires little proficency and even less creativity. Do you know how to write stuff in a minor key? Can you program a drum machine? Do you have a reverb plug in? Then you've all got the necessary skills required to release a sort of competent DBM album. Ok, Exiled from Light isn't in the horrible, worst-music-ever genre that's 'Bedroom Black Metal'- the drums are too well programmed- but there's so many things about it that drag it down 'til it's almost at that level. It's hard not to roll your eyes when this album starts up. Slow synths and a meandering guitar doing a fairly boring and overlong intro, all before the drum machine starts up, the screams come in... and things get even more cliched.

You've heard these shrieks before, you've heard the stupidly simple synth linesbefore. When it comes down to it the drums are the only thing keeping the whole enterprise above water- the occaisonal fill, the deft use of cymbals (i.e, going from hi-hat to ride to change things up)- it sounds sort of like something a real drummer would actually play, and gives the whole thing a bit more energy and more of a live feel. It's hard to stay enthusiastic about a release in which the main thing about it is the not-really-crap drum programming.I don't know how much other stuff this guy's done- perhaps this is his first band/first album etc- but there's a lot of things that only someone really novice could do. Having synths flow from the ambient intros onwards to the black metal sections may sound like a sort of good idea- but they've been mixed too loud, don't add anything to the song and for the most part just clog things up. I think the aim here is for "hypnotic" guitar riffs, but for the most part it just ends up being boring. Yeah, repetitive riffs and structures work well but if you're going to repeat a riff a lot, it had better be good, whereas here it's mostly simple and boring arpeggios following the synth chords.

There's some nice space ambient at the start of "Lurking Within Twilight"; soundsvery Paysage D'Hiver influenced. Thinking along those lines, I think that's my main problem with this album. The slow tempo here sort of fails at making things crushing and despairing- a few tempo changes, a few things other then 'slow and despairing' would've been good. Surely there's room enough for a few blastbeats and guitar blizzards in this sort of sound? That's probably why the best part of the whole thing is the Ghoulish Jesu vibe that comes in at the start of "Suffering Waits..."; the melodies are whacky, it's a little bit faster, it gets you perking up after the snooze fest that's the rest of the album. Same with the different-from-the-usual ambient break that's in the middle of that song, and the sort of triumphant lead guitar in the last half; it's good because it's a tiny bit of variety from the seen-it-all-before stuff that's in the rest of the album. If Exiled From Light are a bit more generous with these sort of things next album, things could be looking up...

Currently though it's all a bit grim, and not in a good way. Relatively decent drums and production aside, there's not really a lot seperating this from the million other bands doing a very, very similar thing. Only worth a look if you're an obsessive DSBM fan.

Reviewer: Caspian


From: Meridian 9 Magazine; Issue #5

What do you think of when someone mentions New Zealand? Is it Lord of the Rings? Kiwis? Guys with facial tattoos sticking their tongues out? Giant weta crickets? Wale riders? How about (When Mine Eyes Blacken, Nystagmus, Winds of Sorrow, Schizophrenia, Serpenthrone, Beyond Light, Einsamkeit (Nzl)) and Exiled From the Light? Well, now that you have been introduced to the plethora of Black Metal projects that come from the mind of singularly disturbed Mort, I’m sure you will. This is not the first disc that Mort has released through Hypnotic Dirge, but so far it is my favorite. “Descending Further into Nothingness” is a slow starter. It begins with a well executed Dark Ambient into then sharply slaps the listener with an immediate drop into Black Metal hell with track two. This sharp descent carries the listener through a maze of harsh, dominant screams and fuzzed out guitars. Keys are indeed used in these compositions but they do not crowd the buzzing guitars. They are masterfully interwoven throughout these songs adding atmosphere and depth. Usually, when it comes to Depressive Black Metal, I prefer the drum work to stay behind the scenes and serve only to create a back beat. For whatever reason Mort’s drumming, which is sharp and holds equal sway with the guitars, does not put me off. Through the rage and despair that is brought across so painfully well in this collection of songs, there are moments of quite and contemplative minimalism that lend much needed contrast to these otherwise despair ridden songs. “Descending Further into Nothingness” is simply a well crafted, classic sounding Depressive Black Metal album.

Reviewer: Owen Wears


From: Funeral March Zine; Issue #6 www.myspace.com/funeralmarchzine

After the intro the sound gets much lower... Sounds rather strange. Well, "volume up and continue listening." Judging by the name of the record I expected rather melancholic and depressive black metal, that is spot so to speak. I think it is a very good record, very atmospheric and the melancholic feeling I get feels very good. I manage to keep my interest up throughout the whole album, the songs are long but very good! It is calm, melodic parts varied with the raw black metal parts, nicely put together. The quality of sound is good, it all sounds like it should be, the only thing that disturbed me was that the intro was much higher (maybe it is because the promo I got is a burnt CD-r and the actual CD is better), besides that I think that it is well worth listening to. A good buy for those who like depressive and melancholic black metal.


From: Infra Iridian Webzine www.infra-iridian.com

Exiled from Light hails from New Zealand and is the depressive black metal project of Mort from When Mine Eyes and other bands. In 2008, the first full length, There is No Beauty Here, was released and made a pretty strong impact in the depressive black metal genre amongst fans. ***NOTE: Descending Further into Nothingness is actually the debut album, whildst the mentioned There is no beauty left here... was not released until 2010. *** Mort continues the tradition with his sophomore release, Descending Further into Nothingness, which is another superb release.

Descending Further into Nothingness is an album filled with darkness, loneliness, and depravity. Along with those three, eerie and mellow vibrations are found throughout the album. Mort tends to use echoing guitar riffs, some repetitiveness, and dark ambiance within this project to sink the listener into a void of bleak. Mort has succeeded this time again. It seems that with every song, the sounds of Exiled from Light just keeps getting better and better. Vocals are pretty good compared to most depressive bands. The use of acoustics are added as dimension to the song rather than over powering and over using as consecutive interludes like most bands tend to do. There are a lot of beautiful and chilling acoustics throughout. The musicianship overall is at a high level of constant depravity at a nice paced tearing flow.

Descending is what it says. This interlude ambiance sinks the mind into the abyss from the start. Further into Nothingness takes us even deeper into a world of solitude with a nice slow tempo and build up with melancholic riffs. Neath the Opressing Moonlight brings in its beautiful acoustics and melodramatic sounds making the mind wonder as it envisages a reflection cast of the moon over a clear lake filled with stillness. Lurking Within Twilight continues as before with a nice mellow sound of ambiance and aweness. Some of the most beautiful sounds of ambiance, atmosphere, and riffs in the genre can be found on this song alone. Very beautiful. Suffering Waits with Wide Open Arms which is about an 11+ minute track gets even better. Along with length, one can still expect Mort to keep the listener intrigued. Darker and mind chilling riffs of melancholy circum by dark atmosphere steal the listeners ears here creating a top notch depressive sound that may lower your self esteem and think about life. As as 11+ track, there is hardly a dull moment. When you think it's going to get too draggy, Mort just comes up with something new to interest the ears for a bit. This, in my opinion is the pinnacle of this album. No offense to the other tracks because they follow right behind one by one. Drowning... is filled with echoing guitars and blasphemic tremolo riffs at a mid paced sound. This is a slightly darker and more aggressive sound but still keeping the eerie moods of ambiance in a hateful way suffocating you into a lake of oppression and into a downfall of hopelessness.

Overall, a great piece of dark art by Mort just like the predecessor, There is No Beauty Here. It seems this guy can't do wrong as far as Exiled from Light is concerned. Every song is just beautiful in its own way on this album. Every song builds up and adds a slight variant element of mood. Everything is superb on this album. From the melodic riffs, to mid paced tempo, to the eerie and ambient soundscapes, they are all top notch. Nothing is over done. It's just a balance of perfect musicianship. A lot of memorable and depressive riffs will catch the listener and drown him/her into a state of sorrow. Fans of the depressive genre will highly enjoy the sounds of Exiled from Light, I can guarantee that. Recommended for a dark music lover in metal.