Released: 2002, Earache/Elitist Records
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Lunaris is a Norwegian band comprised of members of such renowned Norwegian acts as Borknagar, Satyricon, and Spiral Architect. With that said, one can fairly easily imagine the resulting sound of the band’s debut album, THE INFINITE.
Obviously, technical-progressive Norwegian-styled blackened metal is the logical conclusion, but Lunaris is more than just a sum of its parts. Billed as “Intricate Astral Metal,” Lunaris pushes the limits of each of the aforementioned bands of Lunaris’ members, yet still manages to sound like none of them in particular. The sounds of Borknagar and Spiral Architect are obviously evident, though in parts of the album, Lunaris sounds quite a bit like Cynic in terms of musicianship and song structure. More than just Norwegian in style, the band also incorporates a fair amount of classic heavy metal riffs and leads into the project.
This mosaic of styles is simultaneously a boon and a chink in the band’s armour. For the most part, the songwriting is strong enough to incorporate the transition from a driving riff or technical interlude to full-blown blastbeats and choppy-riff frenzy. Personally, I find this blast-beating tiresome, as any clown band from Norway, or anyo of the other zillion Emperor-esque clone band playing “True Norwegian Black Metal” can pull off a scene like that. While these moments are overall rare throughout the album, they do pop up, and even dominate a couple songs, like the waste that is “Primal Construction,” or “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” (with its annoying as hell intro). For each of these pits of despair, there are bright stars of technicality, such as “Growth Denied,” with its great passages and the Cynic-esque closer, “Soulcrush.” In addition, “Of the One, and “Mother of Storms” remind me of an Arcturus composition. Although it is hard to give a clear-cut example of the defining moment of such a diverse album, “In the Eyes of the Heretic,” “A Final Journey,” and “In Contempt of Humanity” best sum up what Lunaris has to offer.
When I first read the description of the band’s sound, I was somewhat worried about what was in store for me, as such a collaboration of artists and styles could go in either direction of awesomeness or suckitude. I must admit that I am more impressed with this album than I ever hoped to be, although I feel that a band possessing such talented musicians (who have proven themselves on such albums as A SKEPTIC’S UNIVERSE, and QUINTESSENCE), are capable of much more. In any case, fans of Borknagar, Arcturus, Spiral Architect, and similar bands would find something of interest in what Lunaris has to offer.