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Lunar Aurora - Seelenfeuer -CD

€9.90

Lunar Aurora is a German black metal band perhaps best known for their modern, somewhat depressive black metal masterpieces, the most praised of which is 2007’s Andacht. The band truly is a force in the world of modern black metal, but a look into their past reveals that their talents have been going strong for well over a decade. As a case in point, the band’s sophomore album, Seelenfeuer, contains very good black metal with just a deadly amount of keyboards added to the whole thing.

The primary Lunar Aurora sound, that exclusive one that makes releases such as Andacht sound so very unique, is already present on this release. The sound here differs considerably from what one thinks of when standard black metal is mentioned. First of all, the riffs are constructed in a much less repetitive manner than on your typical black metal album. Instead, they work alongside the keyboards to create a gloomy, dark and occasionally space-oriented atmosphere that all works very well. An important element here is the keyboard usage. Despite this not really being symphonic black metal in the traditional sense, this instrument is used relatively heavily to achieve much of the album’s atmospheric qualities. This is still standard black metal of the highest order, but the band isn’t afraid from using solid production values (this album absolutely does not sound raw or thinly produced, quite the contrary) without every sounding too loud or overproduced. The production sound is just good enough to create a broad enough sound base to allow everything to be heard perfectly and every element to do its best within the album’s framework.

Unlike many other black metal releases, the drumming doesn’t serve a particularly important purpose in the atmospheric department. Perhaps that’s just because of the added elements versus more minimalistic black metal (which has no keyboards), but here the drumming tends to remain in the relative background of the mix, all the while being quite varied and even technical at several spots throughout. Its sound is also very organic, very natural, like its production was in no way forced or modified from what it originally “should” have sounded like. Vocalist Aran does an impressive job of producing a long series of dark, very misanthropic-sounding classic black metal rasps. His vocals are very traditional for the genre and very good; none of the lyrics can actually be understood (which is admittedly the case for the large majority of black metal releases which don’t feature clean vocals).

Speaking of which, the lyrics are another high point on this album. Fully German, they explore darkness and the night, including associated elements like the moonlight and its effects, in a very convincing way. This is perhaps the first fully German album whose lyrics have interested me so very much, and I look forward to analyzing the band’s other albums in this department as well.

Lunar Aurora’s Seelenfeuer is a very impressive black metal album. It fearlessly drives into unexplored grounds for pure black metal bands and emerges surprisingly victorious from its experimentation. This is black metal with originality and style, and it truly has everything going for it, even the highly evocative yet deceptively simple cover art.