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Vipassi – Lightless

Vipassi – Lightless

Vipassi - Lightless

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: 26 January, 2024
  • Label: Season of Mist
  • Musicians:
    Daniel Presland - Drums
    Ben Boyle - Guitars & Synths
    Arran McSporran - Fretless Bass
    Benjamin Baret - Guitar/Solos
  • Favorite songs:
    Morningstar, Phainesthai, Promethea
  • For Fans of:
    Ne Obliviscaris, Beyond Creation, Aubury, Virvum, Fractal Universe

Occasionally a group of excellent musicians get together to produce something incredibly special, and indeed this has happened several times recently. This time the musicians in question come from Australia, France and the UK and are collectively known as Vipassi. From Aussie luminaries Ne Obliviscaris we have Benjamin Baret on guitar and their now ex drummer Daniel Presland. Dan started the project back in 2007 with guitarist Ben Boyle. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum Ben has been in around a dozen bands, none of which I have heard of.

The line-up for this, their second album “Lightless” is completed by fretless bass player Arran McSporran. Arran has also been in several bands, notably Virvum and De Profundis. The band took their name from Buddhist tradition, Vipassi being the twenty-second Buddha of twenty-eight. The cover artwork was created by another Ne Obliviscaris member – Xenoyr.

Now, instrumental technical progressive metal might not appeal to everyone, it is fair to say. But if you are partial to heavy complex metal with growling fretless bass and superb guitar and drum work, then this may be for you. The talent on show here is remarkable.

Although the style of the material does occasionally stray into technical death metal, there are plenty of lighter passages. The opening title track ‘Lightless’ fits into this category for the most part, moving to a heavier feel as it gains momentum. The more diverse ‘Labyrinthine Hex’ has a complex structure, exploding out of quieter sections into screaming guitar notes. Arran’s fretless bass is very noticeable in some passages, gnarling away over complicated drum patterns.

To truly appreciate all the subtleties of this album it needs to be listened to with no distractions. Background music it is not. The bass lines, intricate drum patterns from Daniel and complex layers in ‘Morningstar’ cannot be absorbed instantly.

Some of the tracks, it must be said, are similar to others and ‘Shapshu’ is one example. It is still a great track but does not really have a strong identity unless listened to in isolation. One track that does stand out on the album is ‘Phainesthai,’ with a title taken from a Greek verb meaning “to seem.” The track has some great moments, including dextrous solos from Benjamin and sultry bass runs from Arran.

Choosing my favourite tracks from this album was difficult as there are so many great ones. ‘Ruination Glow’ is moody and broody, mainly because of the fretless bass but seems to get angrier as it goes along. Even the shortest number ‘Neon Rain’ stands out with its ominous tone, and sublime guitar solos.

To finish this superb album there is an eleven-minute epic. All the stops are pulled out for ‘Promethea’ with some exquisite solos from Benjamin. There are also stunning performances from the rest of the band as they move through a myriad of changes.

Photo Credit – Joe Ritson

If there are any negative points from me, they are too small to mention and subjective. The more I played the album, the less I found I could criticise. I wonder if there will be more from this band, I certainly hope so. I also hope I get the chance to see them live. I have stopped having a bucket list of bands to see, it is never going to be empty.


  1. Lightless
  2. Labyrinthine Hex
  3. Morningstar
  4. Shapshu
  5. Phainesthai
  6. Ruination Glow
  7. Neon Rain
  8. Promethea


About the Author


I’m Bob, I hail from Robin Hood country (Nottinghamshire) in the UK. Rock and Metal music has played a big part in my life for many years. From playing guitar in local bands, to attending dozens of Festivals and countless concerts. I have been taking photos at gigs (whenever possible) for a number of years now, and as the camera gear has got better so have the photos. I continue to seek out new Bands and tend to prefer the more technical and heavy stuff these days. I live with my wife Sarah, who fortunately likes the heavy bands as well, and our cats who have to listen to it, whether they like it or not. Apart from gigs and photography (not just concerts) I also enjoy hill walking, films and discovering new beers (and drinking them).

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