Monday, January 11, 2010

LUSTRE "NIGHT SPIRIT" (De Tenebrarum Principio)

Earthen and oceanic both, this the absolute best sort of black metal album. Slow and ethereal, bogging down under the weight of its own floating dreaminess, stumbling but forceful, uncomplicated and utterly hypnotic. Entrancing. Otherworldly. This is the door that Varg Vikernes was forcing open with Burzum and this is what so few people understand. It isn't about racism or purity or nationalism or paganism. It isn't about anti-religion, nor is it even about people and their concerns. It's so beyond that. It's a gate and a mirror. The CD tray states that it's "Awing Art of Northern Nature" and that is exactly correct. This is power, this a force that always existed, before us. A force that will exist long after we're gone, long after every living thing has vanished. It's the power of time and age, the majesty of existence and other styles of consciousness and awakening. It's the dwarfing beauty of nature. Burzum was the first band to truly recognize it and try to pay homage to it, to offer a form of devotion unfettered. This album by Lustre is one of the best records i've ever heard upholding Burzum's vision and while some would view that as a detraction, as some sort of criticism, perhaps against Lustre's originality or intent, i can only applaud the effort and give it my highest possible recommendation. This is almost everything i look for in black metal. Entrancing, repetitive, cyclical song structures, forcing narcoleptic meditation within the listener. Deep, lush tones and cavernous production soaked in reverb. The guitars on this recording are massive, all-enveloping. They sound like waterfalls. Each timbre separate yet acting as part of the whole, the onslaught of watery gushing sound. The vocals are a grisly rasp, sounding like the sickly exclamations of some dying adder buried underneath a mound of mud and leaves while rain pours down from the grey chilled skies above. Keyboards cloak the whole record in their warming, foreboding mists, glossing over everything and holding it in a cloudy swath of medieval melody. Icy clavichord/piano notes cry out from amongst it all, leading you down a path that only spirals further inward. It all keeps going and going, stretching out to a utopian endlessness. Forty minutes isn't enough. It feels like i could listen to this for the rest of my life. This is so much more than music. It is that, an extremely accomplished piece of it, but it is so much larger. This a lamentation for an age, a showing of respect for a force much greater than us, a mourning for what's been lost, buried by modernity and progress. It's a call from the night, from under a shroud of clouds and moons, from beneath the scream of the wind and the eternal dark of ancient forests. Masterful.

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