Lunar Aurora - Mond -CD


As one of the most consistently solid black metal bands ever, each Lunar Aurora album has something that makes it worth listening to. Their seventh album, Mond, would be the final album to feature the full contribution of the long time trio of Aran, Sindar, and Whyrhd as Whyrhd would leave after this album's completion and Sindar would not join the other two during the temporary reformation to make Hoagascht. Mond marks the beginning of the end for the band, but it shows that they intended to go out strong.

If you're following the Lunar Aurora discography chronologically, the immediate difference you'll notice from the band's past albums is that the production is much cleaner than ever before. It's a different approach for this band since the production has also placed even greater emphasis on the guitars while simultaneously decreasing the presence of the keyboards. The riffs are all high speed tremolo passages, but their structure doesn't get monotonous and there's plenty of changes; a good thing considering all the songs on the album are fairly long.

Once you get through a couple of tracks, you'll notice the other big shift Lunar Aurora's sound. Every album this band has done up through Ars Moriendi has this mystical tone to it. This tone has shifted to a much more melancholy tone on Elixir of Sorrow and Zyklus. On Mond, it has shifted once more over to this more malevolent atmosphere. The music here is presented in a way that it just sounds cold, grim, and malicious with the big sound of the guitar and drums, extremely sinister vocals from the trio, and the reduced use of more melodic riff passages and keyboards. Even the keys that are here sound hauntingly scornful or sound like some imperial fanfare in the case of some instances on "Rastlos" and "Heimkehr". "Schwarze Winde" is the only track that sounds remotely forlorn as it definitely has the same vibes as "Nacht" on Zyklus, but even that was a pretty dark song on that album. Mond is by far the most evil sounding Lunar Aurora has ever sounded in their entire catalog, and it's a bit of a bummer they kinda floundered this sound on Andacht.

For an album released during the band's fading years, Mond presents itself as one of Lunar Aurora's best albums in their discography. The band did spend a brief period of time playing live in the year following this album's release. Sadly, it seems the remaining members just exhausted their interest in the project and just wanted to go out with some final studio recordings. These were still a strong few final years, and of the final three albums in the twilight of Lunar Aurora, Mond definitely sticks out as superior to the two that would succeed it. It's a very strong black metal album that should even appeal to black metal listeners who don't particularly like the band's more melodic and symphonic efforts.