Matt Harvey “Toward The Cold Light” Review

Matt Harvey
Toward The Cold Light
Released : February 8, 2024

Matt Harvey returns with a new foray into ambient music on Towards The Cold Light.

When the name Matt Harvey comes up in conversation, the first band or musical project that comes to mind is probably Exhumed. If not, it’s surely one of the many extreme metal projects he has played in over the years. Bands such as Dekapitator, Gruesome, Pounder and Scarecrow, Left To Die or Repulsion – what might not come to mind though, are his solo albums that feature heavy synth ambient works.

This is Harvey’s second solo record and voyage into the world of ambient music – and perhaps the most striking part of the Toward The Cold Light package, is how greatly it differs from what we’ve come to expect from the man. Put aside are the guttural, gut wrenching vocals and gore-soaked lyrics, the down-tuned guitars and the grindcore or death metal everything. Truly, I didn’t expect to hear something so uplifting yet haunting as I did within these five compositions. Socks; knocked off.

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“This EP is something I’ve had rattling around for a while,” says Harvey. “Melodies and compositions inspired by walking my dogs through the fog on chilly winter mornings. It’s more contemplative than anything I’ve done before; more reflective of both the natural world and the internal world that we experience alone with our thoughts in quiet moments. It’s been a rewarding journey working on music as a composer and engineer, rather than a guitar player or vocalist, and I hope coming along that journey with me through these tunes is also meaningful to anyone who listens.”

The perfect soundtrack for cold, misty winter mornings, the melodies found across the record’s five tracks ebb and flow through orchestrated soundscapes that are often bleak and lonely, at times warm and nostalgic, but always compelling. These five numbers are so grandiose and showcase Harvey’s ability to compose music and sound, perhaps more so than we’ve seen through the decades thus far.

While the tunes of Towards The Cold Light attempt great heights, I would say they reach those highs and honestly feel confident in making that statement. While quite somber, as always there is a certain beauty that can be found in darkness. Towards The Cold Light makes good use of layered sound, whereas for example one might find the sounds of rain gently falling behind a set of keys. Or a jungle of bells and a quaint drum hit as the synthesizers warm each other up. There seems to be something more to discover with each listen.

This is the perfect way to start a cold Sunday morning, with a hot mug of coffee in hand, perhaps staring out the window into the bleakness of the winter months. I only wish I saw trees and distant mounts when I did this, in place of the concrete jungle that surrounds me. A definite me problem.

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Like other extreme metal artists like Ulver, for example, perhaps Harvey has new avenues to explore in film soundtracks and scores. It worked out quite well for Ulver – who haven’t looked back since, seemingly abandoning their black metal past to the sands of time, and while I don’t see Harvey walking away from the music that has tattooed his existence up to this point, perhaps spreading out into film soundscapes is in his cards.

The album can be streamed or purchased digitally on a pay what you will scale, from Harvey’s bandcamp page – no word yet on any physical media formats.

For Fans Of: Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Ulver, Ascension Of The Watchers
Track Listing:

01. Toward The Cold Light
02. Silence At The Edge Of Memory
03. Lights In The Mist
04. Parted Hearts
05. Vanishing Point

Author Rating

  • overall
  • composition
  • enjoyment
  • production
  • variety
  • memorability