Released: 2010, Indie
This album (and band) really came out of left field. I was not familiar with Lemuria’s earlier 2005 debut and had little to no info about them but I am blown away. Lemuria is a Symphonic Black Metal sextet from Belgium and for an independent act I am extremely impressed.
The album CHANSON DE LA CROISADE is a full-on, full-blown epic concept album clocking in at over an hour. This is by far one of the most epic, Metal Opera type deals I’ve ever heard. The band is listed as Black Metal in places but Lemuira is so much more. Imagine an unholy union of Rhapsody and Dimmu Borgir. This is what I imagine the aborted Rhapsody In Black project was going to sound like.
The album is heavy and fast, very fast and the lead guitar work really drives the songs along. I have a hard time defining this as Black Metal. Despite the really harsh vocals, if you strip those away this would pass for a heavy Power Metal album. The vocals while guttural are clearly pronounced making it easier to follow. The lead vocals are accompanied by lots of male choirs and the songs have a very orchestrated, soundtrack feel to them. I know the word ‘epic’ is used often but it truly applies here.
There is a ton of mellower instrumentation going on in this album. There are lots and lots of keyboards. The acoustic piano intro to the cut ‘A Coming Storm’ is a tip of the hat to Savatage. The instrumental tracks ‘Court Music’ and ‘Carchachouna’ could easily fit on any Rhapsody album. Swirling keyboards flow through virtually every song sometimes doing battle with the guitar. There is flute, horns, kind of like Hollenthon, and a huge medieval flair to all the compositions. There are folk influences as well making this a real mish-mash but the band pull it all together. Capping off the concept album is a very interesting story-line with narration and sound effects. These are just icing on the cake. All these additional elements make it all the more exciting to listen to. The production is top notch as is the mix. The narration is clear and audible and the vocals are loud and up front.
Somehow Lemuria have taken all these sonic components and mixed them in the right proportion and never leave behind the metal. That is key to this diverse and dynamic album, the Metal really shines through, the raging speed, blazing soloing, the harsh Black Metal attack never get overshadowed by the bells and whistles. CHANSON DE LA CROISADE is a phenomenal album and if I had heard it in 2010 it would have easily made my Top 10 for the year.