When we wrote about A Pregnant Light as a Band To Watch back in April, the one-man band had already proven itself more diverse than most. At that point in APL’s prolific and young career, APL treaded the waters of hardcore and postpunk while maintaining a firm grounding in hair-raising black metal, releasing limited edition cassettes that earned high praise from both Michael and me. Well, APL hasn’t completely rewritten the book with Domination Harmony — those cassettes are as limited as ever — but has continued to evolve what Deathless Maranatha, the force behind APL, calls Purple Metal. It’s a genre tag that seems to nail APL’s gutsy, contemplative, shape-shifting and lo-fi sound and is just quirky enough to show a little leg—as APL has done previously.
Let me just say it: Domination Harmony is fantastic, and arguably A Pregnant Light’s best material yet. Like other releases, it’s short (just three tracks, 15 minutes) and will leave you wanting more, but given the flow between the three songs, it’s hard to argue for added length that would disrupt such a well-knit trilogy. This is the poppiest, most post-punk APL to date, full of hooks and a couple of sounds not typical of previous material: acoustic guitar and clear vocals (aka not yells/screams). Don’t get me wrong — there’s definitely a metal edge to these songs, it’s just more complementary than dominating.
At this point, I’m not sure what’s best: the acoustic groove of “Heat Helps These Flowers Grow” that builds to a roar and then relents; “Lives in Hole, No Friends” with the outro that could, and should, go on forever; or “The Pregnant Life,” the song most in tune with previous material and that given its name, lyrics (when discernible) and various intangibles, comes across as a statement song. Listen to Domination Harmony now.
Domination Harmony will be available for purchase at Colloquial Sound Recordings today, either as a cassette limited to 59 copies or a digital download.