Evadne – The Pale Light of Fireflies


I don’t normally do this.  I don’t normally write reviews for albums that released the previous year, even if it did release near the end of December.  It’s just how much mind functions.  However, I ran across this album on a “best of” list for dark albums, and I was immediately enthralled.  This is The Pale Light of Fireflies by Evadne, and it released on December 24th, 2021.

Evadne is a Spanish band.  I’m not sure what their name means, as it seems to bring up a few different definitions when I try to translate it.  Anyways, the band includes Josan Martin on guitars, Joan Esmel on drums and vocals, Andoni Ros on guitars, Albert Conejero on vocals, and Jose Quilis on bass.  Guests include Jaani Peuhu (Swallow the Sun, Hallatar) and Carline Van Roos (Lethian Dreams, Aythis).

The band plays a classic death doom metal, but I think they offer much more that.  Their sound is far more symphonic, transcendent, and gracious than you might expect, similar to early-to-mid career Anathema at times.  For every dark corner, there is a blinding alleyway of light.  For every harsh vocal, there is a smooth, clean expression.  For every spiral of darkness, there is a flourish of beauty and accessibility. In fact, someone who might be looking for a stepping stone into this genre might find that this is the album to provide that.

And that is exactly what has captivated me on The Pale Light of Fireflies.  There is a sense of whimsy, introspection, and poetry that pervades the entire experience.  None of the harsher elements are overdone, making for an album that is surprisingly soothing and healing.  From the thoughtful lyrics to the rich ambience, this is a record that cares about artistry, authenticity, and amber light.

“Shadows”, the opener, is a great example of this character.  From whispers to lush melody to wonderful pacing, the song immediately draws me into the experience.  It is a hauntingly beautiful track with plenty of raw moments, but the overall effect is one of transcendence and spiritual might.  “Under Blessed Skies” follows, and it is similar in tone, only perhaps somewhat heavier: another great track.

“Where Silence Dwells”, “Silhouettes of a Faceless Sun”, and “The Vacuum” are all superb tracks, too.  The former two are heavy and attractive, while the latter is the album closer, being a more melodic and pensive song that drifts away perfectly.  I would say, though, that the best songs on the album are the one-two-three of the title track, “Ablaze Dawn Eyes”, and “Hollow Realms”.  The title track is especially gorgeous with its guest spots and ambient demeanor.  It hovers and floats with such grace.

“Ablaze Dawn Eyes” is a different beast.  It takes its time, and the focus is less on the doomy contrast, and more on both strong and subtle rhythms that emerge.  It is an epic track, even cinematic at times, yet always grounded in the shroud of night becoming day.  “Hollow Realms” is also quite different.  It is actually extremely catchy in its chorus, though it takes about half the runtime to get there.  Still, the song is on my lips constantly.  I love it.

Evadne are new to me, though they have been around for close to 20 years.  I’m certainly going to be exploring their older works, but this elegant and imaginative record is probably going to hold my attention for some time yet.  I’m not ready to move on from an album with such an evocative nature.

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