Lunar Aurora certainly provided us with some of the most eventful, intense and emotional black metal to date and I was delighted to hear they were reforming. Their 2012 comeback album (minus Sindar, who went on to release one of my favorite works of last year with Kamera Obskur) doesn’t draw us to tormented stargazing but rather sets us onto a vivid human journey between myth and stark reality. Sung in upper Bavarian dialect, the story overlaps the metaphysical by telling you something real in a deliberately uncomplicated way.
Musically Hoagascht is simpler than the vastly ornate outputs of today, but has it all: the trippy-proggy seductiveness, the poetic intensity of seeing the world through the eyes of natural events and a distinctive organic grip that holds you firmly to the ground (giving a lesson on how to use the programmed drumming!). The skillful use of ambient sounds as narrative that puts you in an immersive state is indeed one of Lunar Aurora’s main traits, and in this work it is used extensively to depict mysterious, natural and human events alike, giving the album great depth.
“Beagliachda”’s hypnotizing, folksy synth melody draws you into an eerie dimension inhabited by pagan sorcerers chanting not unlike Tibetan monks, whilst “Geisterwoid” feels like a walk through a haunted forest. But intertwined with those occult layers we have the real world: “Håbergoaß”, where the unmistakable tinny rattles of human artifacts of the belligerent kind, moans and groans and the ominous beat of a war-drum bring us straight into a medieval time-warp. Every one of the 8 songs holds an evocative power that goes beyond the mere cinematic: for example, the far away sound of a horn doesn’t just conjure up images of a battle in a bloody field, but makes you smell its vile stench; in the final track, “Reng”, the pelting sound of the rain doesn’t just make you visualize a mean downpour from a cold, grey sky but it truly makes you feel soaked through to the bones and helpless in the face of nature’s deterministic might.
So here we have it, the story of us humans, with our introspective castles made of arbitrary judgments: we all day-dream, but at night some of us choose to stay awake to face the music, and this IX Lunar Aurora album might not reach the lofty heights of previous masterpieces, but in my opinion opens up a new and very important page, bringing the focus back from the cosmos to the earth. With Hoagascht LA have thoughtfully pushed their influential ambient black metal into the multilayered (mysterious and contingent) realms of the organic, a move that I deem as mature and intelligent, in a humble kind of way.
One of the best openers ever, “Im Gartn” wins as my personal favorite track: its ethereal BM starkness is inundated with a mesmerizing lushness that borrows from certain progressive house, giving me the proverbial shivers. Yet another outstanding achievement from a band that has captivated the connoisseur for many years, and may they continue to do so. One of my top albums of the year.
Release: February 2012
Label: Cold Dimensions
Avantgenre: Bavarian Ambient Black Metal
Official site: None
Review online since: 25.02.2012 / 19:25:24
1. Im Gartn