Suffering Luna were a crust/hardcore band that existed in the early to mid-90s alongside bands such as Despise You
. I won’t go into detail, but the band struggled to keep it together and eventually disintegrated, leaving two splits behind them (a 7” with Dystopia and a 12” with Gasp). The band has more or less reformed now, rehearsing and touring over the last year or so in anticipation of their new record, an LP that contains new material and a lengthy live recording.
While the hardcore aesthetic is prominent in Suffering Luna’s style, there is an inarguable originality to the way they play. Combining the eccentricity of Man is the Bastard
with the hallucinatory nature of Gasp, Suffering Luna can be and often are labeled as ‘psychedelic hardcore’, a term that is perhaps a little vague but makes sense once the music is heard. If anything can be said for sure, it's that they don't sound anything like their contemporaries.
This self-titled LP contains three new tracks featuring Suffering Luna’s signature sound, a combination of compositionally progressive crust and highly textured soundscapes a la Neurosis
. ‘Sea of Drugs’ opens the record, and sets the mood with an almost tribal feel and dirge-like pace, creating a sense of dread with a weighty atmosphere. The pinnacle of the three songs is the middle one, ‘Paranoid Delusions’ – this ten minute epic showcases the band’s capabilities clearly, displaying their ‘psychedelic hardcore’ in full force.
The B side of the record is a 24 minute live set, recorded last year in a studio – the sound quality is high, allowing one to properly hear everything that is going on in Suffering Luna’s music. This includes spacey bleeps and bloops and disfigured samples played under the lumbering crust that defines the band. There is definitely a disparity between the live recording and the properly mastered songs, however the difference doesn’t lie in quality but in the nature of the recordings – the live set has a very full sound, with the vocals higher in the mix and the atmosphere a little more abrasive. Regardless, the two sides show two different ways of hearing Suffering Luna’s music, and both are highly invigorating.
Whether or not the reformed band will last is hard to say, but as it stands their new material is very solid. A lot of work has gone into making this record cohesive, and even the live set sits remarkably well along with the other songs. Suffering Luna
stands alone and doesn't take cues from any other bands - such unique records rarely ever surface in the genre, so this band's return is very welcome.