Lunar Aurora formed in 1994 and have since released a constant stream of albums, as well as two splits, writing all of their lyrics in German, and not once have they missed an evolutionary step. Yet they remain a top quality black metal band that very few have heard of.Their vocalist, Whyrhd, owns the Cold Dimensions record label. A majority of their albums have gotten exceptionally positive reviews. Why have they remained in the shadows for well over a decade, releasing well-received black metal to an unknowing or uncaring majority? Well, I don’t really know, but the only certain thing is that Andacht is a hell of an intense listen.
For a black metal album of our generation, this interestingly enough does not contain repetitiveness…! Yes, black metal that is evergrowing, who would’ve thought? The album creates an atmosphere of not only desolation and melancholy, but also of complete destruction and rebirth. It takes you to a whole other realm where you are witness to the most beautifully horrific illustrations, only because the soundscape is fully organic in execution. The vocals are no one-trick pony (or even two-trick), the band never overuses piano/keyboard, and the drums fluctuate in rhythm, structure, and intensity based on the main melody/riff. Obviously this is much more enticing than the vast majority of the past couple year’s releases.
A vital significance of the album is that it plays like an album, rather than a bunch of songs. The compositions do well in evolving the album’s tone; you could say each song is an island. They’re each in their own right, each has their own features, and yet they’re all connected in a sort of chronological, mystical tale. Dunkler Mann plays out like the unwinding lunacy of Jack from The Shining, chock full of hypnotic riffs, low-pitched cackles, and well placed silence. And yet, once the song’s over, Findling ignites a theme only describable as triumphant or heroic. Imagine the sound of Diabolical Masquerade’s Cloaked By The Moonshine Mist or Bathory’s A Fine Day To Die, and amplify the atmosphere tenfold. It doesn’t make any sense at all, but it fits.
When I mentioned the vocals are not monotonous, I could expand the thought and say his duties range from Gregorian chants to singing to high pitched (but not annoyingly high) screaming to mid range screaming to low growls to shouted singing. You’d think he’d have faults with at least a couple of those areas, but each is just as powerfully performed as the next. There are times when his high screams and shouts could be better but they don’t take away from anything.
So the vocals aren’t as typical as expected, but what about the drums? Well, you’ll be pleased to know they don’t rely on ridiculous, machine gun- like blast beats for an hour. There’s probably only one area of blast beats per song, and even then they recognizably vary in tempo. I’m sure if I knew more about playing drums I could contribute more to this area, but as far as sounding exceptionally menacing and not overbearing they do their part (see Geisterschiff).
Being their 8th outing, it’s not too surprising that this is really well done. However, the band’s future remains to be seen. They released this in 2006 and immediately went on hiatus. This means you have time to venture to their back catalogue, yes? If I were to give you an album that nullified stereotypes in order to expand its creations, you would want it right? If I were to tell you a band didn’t rely on gimmicks, or necro-gimmicks for that matter, and still created an album so human and intrapersonal, I would have a hard time believing you wouldn’t want to take a peek.