If you think of the small, tranquil Switzerland, you probably won’t think directly of the Swiss metal scene. Several years ago, bands like Gotthard, Krokus or Celtic Frost were the first to make a name for themselves. In the meantime, numerous other bands have joined, not least from the area of female fronted metal. Of course, acts like Burning Witches, Eluveitie and Ad Infinitum should be mentioned here. Speaking of Ad Infinitum: Their singer, Melissa Bonny, left the Swiss metal band Rage of Light some months ago to focus on other music projects. After Melissa Bonny had been replaced by the Polish vocalist/lyricist Martyna Halas (Ascend The Hollow), the 2015 founded band Rage of Light has now released the second studio album „Redemption“.
Martyna is a studied vocalist and a blogger, who is interested in all vocal styles and techniques, especially the more extreme side of it, so she declares. She was active as a singer in various bands before and is currently based in the Netherlands. In addition to her, the three–piece band also consists of Jonathan Pellet (synthesizers/vocals) and Noé Schüpbach (guitars/bass). The band describes their style as trance metal, although influences of melodic death metal and progressive metal cannot be denied as well. Bands like Arch Enemy, Nightwish and The Agonist are named as musical references. That sounds promising, I thought, and listened carefully to their new work.
Thematically, the 9–track album digs deep into the internal battles that torment nearly everyone in the digital age, yet with a refreshing ray of hope. The album starts with the 8–minutes „Iciness“. If you haven’t heard of the term „trance metal“ so far, here you will get a first taste of what Rage of Light’s music is about. The calming intro of the song is indeed reminiscent of trance music that reached its peak in the 1990s. It takes a minute and a half to get to metal music business. Fast rhythms, tempo changes, clear but also guttural singing by Martyna – all of this is underlaid by a carpet of electronic sounds, which is actually rather untypical for metal music.
The second song „2.0“ is a pre–release. Martyna convinces again with her vocals, which alternates between clear and guttural singing. Additionally there are Jonathan’s growls, what degenerates into a war of voices in places. It also becomes obvious here that Martyna’s clear voice sounds a bit like Sharon den Adel, which is not meant negatively – on the contrary. At the latest when she’s turning back to a roaring beast again, the romanticism is over. „Crusade for the Sun“ is highly recommended, a melodic song with a stunning vocal part (04:32), that is really fun. „Lead the Riot“ was also published in advance, featuring a catchy chorus and driving double bass drums. Surely one of the album’s peaks. „Chasing a Reflection“ is another characteristic song of the band. The interaction of male and female growls appears again, along with some electronic elements and voices. „Breaking Infinity“ offers again some well done trance–sounds, which create a special atmosphere and round off a solid song. „Exploder“ and „Aspiration“ shouldn’t go unmentioned, even if their quality doesn’t quite come close to the album’s flagships, but this is not a drama. The ballad „Beyond“ is the final song, with which Rage of Light puts one last exclamation mark. Martyna’s clear vocals are once again the focus of a good song, which as a finisher was absolutely the right choice. Only at the end of the song she brings her growls back to life.
Musically it is quite demanding, because the balancing act between disco music and metal is undoubtedly mastered, which is surely not easy. Even if some songs have a rather gloomy touch, the album radiates something positive and atmospheric, which is possibly due to the built–in trance elements. I perceive these as an enrichment, especially since they do not seem exaggerated or overloading. There are supposed to be people who can relate to both disco music and metal sounds. Exactly those are addressed here and served well with „Temptation“. And finally: The debut of Martyna Halas can be declared as a very successful one. Her charismatic and broad–based singing is one of the band’s figureheads for sure. She not only convinces with impressive growls, but also with awesome cleans, that prove her outstanding singing technique.
All in all, I heard a strong, multi-faceted, well-produced album by a talented band, which will certainly draw even more attention to itself. „Temptation“ is a big step in the right direction, I dare to predict.
Release Date: December 8, 2021
3. Crusade for the Sun
4. Lead the Riot
5. Chasing a Reflection
7. Breaking Infinity