Title: The Hysterical Hunt
Reviewed: June 2019
I can’t recall how I stumbled upon Lemuria’s sophomore album CHANSON DE LA CROISADE about nine years ago. I like the indie release so much I ordered it from the band. I reviewed it for this site and gave it a great review. I still enjoy it to this day. Over time, with little or no news I just assumed the band had broken up. In early 2019, I was delighted to discover that the band has been signed with Massacre Records and had written and recorded their third album, THE HYSTERICAL HUNT.
As one might expect, time has not been kind to the line-up of the band and in the intervening years only the bassist and drummer remain. In most cases this would be the kiss of death for most bands, but the new singer, Swinnen, and twin-guitar attack of Sortino and De Kooning fit in very nicely and I’m pleased to note there is no drop in quality. Again, not many things stay exactly the same and yes, there is some progression and evolution of sound from the last album. The last album was just a bit fiercer and this one, very slightly more orchestral and symphonic. Lemuria, if you are not familiar are an, epic blackened symphonic Black Metal band from Belgium, very much in line sonically with Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, shades of King Diamond, and many other new up and coming bands like Carach Angren, Fleshgod Apocalypse and so on.
THE HYSTERICAL HUNT, like the last album, is a concept album. The story is about the mysterious disappearance of six people in a province of France in 1765. The local populace suspected a werewolf. There are multiple characters, The Hunter, The Preacher, The Lover, The Scholar and more. The tale of ‘The Beast of Gevaudan’ is not new, it is based on an allegedly true series of events. As a side note, it was also the subject of a most righteous French, action movie from 2001 called LE PACTE DES LOUPS (aka THE BROTHETHOOD OF THE WOLF). This is an excellent re-interpretation of the story and all the lyrics and storyline are laid out in the 20-page booklet. It’s a nice looking CD with cool artwork by Chris Verwimp.
Musically, this is what you might expect from an epic concept album; it contains narration, instrumental bridges pieces, multiple character voices, giant long musical segments all mixed with top-notch, high quality production values. It sounds razor sharp and crystal clear courtesy of the young up and coming Belgian production team of Yarne and Bert. The guitars shred, the vocalist rage and roar and the female vocals add very nice counter-point to the swirling madness.
THE HYSTERICAL HUNT is really superb for my tastes. The band cleverly blends driving Black Metal with orchestral sounds and an overall creepy atmosphere combined with an engaging storyline make this album a winner. I hope they can regain some momentum and that we don’t have to wait another nine years for another album…but it was worth the wait!