Sweden’s Lustre has proven divisive across the two prior releases reviewed. The first was heralded as a great atmospheric record and bestowed with a 4.0, while the second was quite the opposite and summarily handed a 1.5. I presume you’ve already skipped to the bottom for the score so I’ll address this now: my review of Still Innocence falls far closer to the second. For some reason the metal tab on Bandcamp is rammed with atmospheric black metal of this ilk so I suppose there’s an audience somewhere. If any of you have found your way here you should know that this record is bad. Allow me a few hundred words to describe why.

Lustre doesn’t fall too far from the likes of Summoning in its reverb-heavy, densely atmospheric approach to black metal. But Still Innocence makes Summoning‘s output sound like Mozart, such are the shitty, Casio-standard, faux-orchestral synths used here. There’s no actual heaviness and barely any audible metal despite nominally falling into the category. The bass, guitars and drums are all subjugated to the obnoxious synths dominating the spectrum, being relegated to an indistinct noise in the sub-layers. If I can describe this album in three onomatopoeic words they would be “twinkle,” “buzz” and “hiss.” The twinkle is the synths, the buzz the instruments and the hiss the thin, buried vocals. If this unique intersection of sounds catches your ear then Still Innocence will probably be your defining record of 2017. Given the dearth of even somewhat interesting instrumentation and the prevalence of these synths, the record is an example of style over substance – but where that style is vapid and forgettable.

Beyond the aesthetic to which I so strongly object, this album is incredibly repetitive. Approximately 90 percent of it is simply cut-pasted from the shockingly few ideas that are actually generated. I had to actively note when the melody finally changed or developed. I’m struggling to call it ‘song-writing’; one idea repeats for a while, might change once, and then the track ends. The target was clearly for something hypnotic but the result is dull and fails to engage. “Let Go Like Leaves of Fall” suffers particularly as it feels like the interlude in an album of interludes, even lacking the deficient metal present elsewhere. Every track uses the ol’ fade-to-black outro which is limp and reeks of inability to write a satisfactory conclusion otherwise.

I’m further confused as to the tone sought. The tonal comparison on “Dreaded Still,” the opener, could be Burzum given the electronic ambiance and black metal but it lacks the legitimate darkness and danger of that band. Meanwhile, “Nestle Within” closes with what could be described as ‘cosmic’ synths. But most strange is “Reverence Road” which is bizarrely close to an 80s, retro sci-fi movie soundtrack. In fact, it sounds very much like the Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon OST by Power Glove, a videogame soundtrack which was designed as an homage to such movies. I’m not entirely convinced that this was intentional but it is quite funny as it subverts any attempt at making an emotive statement. The only point at which I feel any sense of gravitas, or an emotion beyond bewilderment or bemusement, is on “Without End.” It’s slightly more powerful and at least concludes the record on a stronger note.

If these tracks were half their length and then spread across ten black metal releases, they could make for reasonable interludes. But when the entirety of Still Innocence feels like a 35-minute interlude the resulting release is incredibly repetitive and forgettable. And while the master may be mercifully dynamic, Lustre proves that this is but one characteristic of a good production job since the metal parts are poorly represented in the mix and have zero impact whatsoever. Even beyond all that, my noted responses of bewilderment and bemusement should not be elicited by a black metal album attempting to attain some kind of emotive impact. According to Google, ‘lustre’ implies shine or brilliance; this Lustre is far from that.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: v0-v2 MP3
Label: Nordvis Produktion
Websites: lustre.bandcamp.com | www.facebook.com/lustre
Releases worldwide: November 3rd, 2017

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  • Eli Valcik

    Speaking of Summoning, With Doom I Come is already the best song of 2018.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      NO.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Yes.

    • Wilhelm

      I’m not looking forward to this at all, that song is boring, the vocals are shit and the production is bad, but not in a charming way.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      That song is cool but that production is just the worst, even by Summoning standards. I’m sad that I waited four years for something so ear-splittingly painful.

      • Eli Valcik

        Yeah the production is bad but it kinda get on me and the chanting sounds really fucking cool at the end(ish) of the song and I think that is partially aided by the weaker production. But subjectivity.

  • pfk505

    Clearly written by somebody with zero knowledge of this little niche. Im not a huge fan of Lustre for many of the reasons given but he has been around a long time and, at least for me, is meant to scratch a different itch than are Summoning.

    This is just lazy, objectively bad criticism.

    • Eldritch Elitist
      • herrschobel

        well that´s a bit harsh , ey ? i see no real dickery in the aboce comment … just a strong opinion

        • Eldritch Elitist

          Calling someone’s writing “objectively bad” is pretty dickish if you ask me.

          • herrschobel

            Yeah maybe…it’s just another opinion I guess …

          • pfk505

            Summoning Summoning “Casio-standard” Burzum Far Cry 3. None of which apply to this album or any other Lustre album. It’s bad.

    • El_Cuervo

      I would like to open my 2-part riposte with this article: http://www.angrymetalguy.com/angry-metal-guy-speaks-on-objectivity/

      I would like to conclude my 2-part riposte with:

      Dear Mr. pfk505,

      Thanks for your complaint. As you know, customer satisfaction lies at the heart of what we do here at Angry Metal Guy. We treat any criticisms or recommendations with the utmost sincerity and shall consider your comments carefully. Your issue shall be assigned to one of our specially trained customer satisfaction team who will get back to in 7-10 working days.

      Our deepest apologies and best regards,
      El Cuervo, Customer Satisfaction Line Manager

    • Noctus

      Having knowledge of a particular niche shouldn’t be necessary for liking or disliking an album and expressing your thoughts.

  • h_f_m

    That embed would be better if they called it “Nestlé Within” and made it about being full of substandard chocolate.

    Maybe they can start a competing company called Lustré.

    • sir_c

      Chocolate? I’m gonna need some Illy after this stuff.
      Make that a double.

  • Martin Knap

    Wtf are those vocals about? And the music is like going into a k-hole :-)

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Seriously, it sounds like a crying over a baby monitor.

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    I could legitimately see a black metal band in the Summoning/Caladan Brood mold but with a future-retro vibe like all the It Follows/Blade Runner/Stranger Things synth stuff that’s everywhere these days.

    Take a little John Carpenter, a little of the recent Ulver record, a bit of the urban vibe from the Moonfog late 90’s industrial stuff, mix it with the lo-fi dungeon synth like Spectral Kingdom…

    Damn, maybe I should corner that market.

    • Dudeguy Jones

      please, thanks.

  • The Akerstache

    So I’m four minutes into the song. Does anything happen?

    • El_Cuervo

      I’m 35 minutes through album multiple times. Nothing happens at all.

      • The Akerstache

        How did your brain survive such mind numbing music???

        • Nukenado

          Alcohol and potato chips in copious amounts, probably.

          • The Akerstache

            I mean there are worse coping mechanisms.

      • Thatguy

        You poor bastard.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      If this is a 1 then the KFC Twins should have received a – 5 .

      • The Akerstache

        I’m all for that.

  • hallowed

    Lacklustre, anyone?

    • SoLeftISeeRight

      Someone had to say it.

    • El_Cuervo

      dammit missed an easy one

  • Feytalist

    So I guess I’m the audience for this type of thing.

    I’ve always liked Lustre. It’s not very impactful, nor is the music incredibly varied or anything. And yet, I like it. It’s soothing and droney, and I love the way it makes me feel.

    The review makes memtion of gaming OSTs, which I’ve never really understood. But I guess this album is my equivalent.

    Suffice to say… yeah, I lile this album.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Man, Far Cry 3 Blood dragon was a a lot of fun. The best part was when you got to fight the Ninja Turtles thought. That was hilarious.

  • Thatguy

    I am stunned that people have gone to the trouble of defending this. There is nothing here to hold my interest at all and it sounds horrible. I have left the embedded track running as I write and, fuck, it only gets worse.

    Your review sums it up perfectly, El C. The only thing lacking was indeed calling it ‘lacklustre.’

    • I sometimes wish you wrote for us.
      “0.5’s for everyone and your band picture is balls.”

      • Eli Valcik

        Yeah we call him in when we need an album to be utterly trashed.

        • Thatguy

          Yes please.

      • Thatguy

        I lack the patience and dedication to endure what the AMG writers must.

        • If you can handle WordPress formatting you’re like sixty steps ahead of me. Plus, your hate would be being used for good.

          • Thatguy

            Ha.

            I was inspired by the concept of being an angry metal guy, and even though he ain’t so angry anymore, I still am.

          • Someone has to be. Part of what drew me to this corner of the interwebz a moon or two back was the name, I’ve been labeled as the angry metal guy in many a circle. I saw the name, I saw someone talking about Insomnium, I knew I was home.

  • Nukenado

    This probably wouldn’t be a bad album to fall asleep to though. It’s very calming.
    Although this is about as metal as bubble tea.

    • Rosetta’s latest is excellent sleep metal, not in that it’s boring just nice and tranquil throughout. The Great Cold are also an excellent option, instrumental black metal done fuckin right.

      • Eli Valcik

        Wilderun was my go to sleep music. But I can fall asleep to any kind of metal.

        • That’s because you’re the man.

          • Eli Valcik

            hahaha yeah. Lately my fall asleep music has been As Righteous As Flawed by Mountaineer, that album kicks ass!

          • Oh shit, yeah it does

        • For the longest time, ObZen was my go-to lullaby album.

      • Nukenado

        DARN IT

    • Septic

      Naeramarth “The Innumerable Stars” is also a slab of calming, sleepy time tunes.

      • Nukenado

        Hmm, I wouldn’t say that it’s sleepy time, but it’s good.

    • Martin Knap

      ketamine is also calming

      • Nukenado

        Numbing.

  • Wes Allen

    This type of metal has become shockingly prevalent, with probably 90% of Bandcamp’s “name your price” selection falling into the atmospheric black metal milieu. Too bad most of it sucks.

    • I’d agree that a lot of it sucks, but there is some cool suit to be found. I think Gaoth were an example of such for me, plus with labels like Non Serviam Records offering all digital albums as NYP it’s definitely worth the time wading through the boring stuff. I wanna say Five Suns and Neverending Sadness were NYP as well, but I straight up buy too much on Bandcamp to remember such trivialities.

      • Wes Allen

        I will be sampling these bands later. Thanks, MoM!

        • Little bit of money needs to be dropped, but Wending Tide’s debut is another solid budget buy at Camp.

        • Oh, and have you heard of Pillorian???

          • Wes Allen

            Yeah, man! I’ve got Obsidian Arc in the ol’ iTunes library. Good stuff. By the way, really enjoying Shroud Ritual.

          • And that’s what it’s all about. Of all the glory that comes with the AMG name, the TYMHM feature is my most coveted opportunity: all I want out of life is to discover the best tunes and tell people about them, if I’m able to walk away from whatever time I spend here having made any band a new fan or two then I’ll be happy. Even we Trvsted Reviewers miss things, I love hearing the cool shit people found on their own and spreading the good word.

          • Pro tip: get into ORM before I drop some TYMHM knowledge on yo ass, they’re definitely up your alley and they could very well sell out of their ridiculously limited vinyl stock once I sling a word or two in their name. Also, thank Thatguy if you dig them, he’s how I discovered them in the first place.

    • Iain Gleasure

      I don’t know if one would consider Falkenbach atmospheric BM but I personally love their stuff. I’ve listened to Long As Winds Will Blow so many times.

    • Peter Rabbit

      Methinks that’s because it’s a farly easy style to imitate: you get one riff (two or three if you’re feeling particulary generous), repeat it ad nauseam with cheap synths, and if someone calls you out for being a hack, you can use the “ambient” tag as your shield.
      I’ve got nothing against ambient music, in fact, I quite like it, but there’s a fine line between being drone and being boring, and the majority of those bandcamp yahoos don’t know when they’re crossing it.

    • El_Cuervo

      This is how I feel. I’ve noted in a couple of reviews this apparent ‘scene’ of shit atmo-black bands and I don’t get it.

    • Tofu muncher

      Many of the first generation BM were atmospheric IMHO. I don’t need others.

  • Unwanted Guest

    I don’t think this is so bad if this was sold for “name your price” on bandcamp and made by one of those cheap Dungeon Synth artists. However, the truth is not. I think that Burzum’s MIDI album he made in the jail is better than this. It sounds cheaper than this, but a lot of imaginations and musical experiments presented there.

    Too thin and poor. There are good ambient albums with emotional, dramatic arrangement, like Metatron Omega’s or Hammock’s, sold on bandcamp. I have no reason to pay any money to this… I’m jealous about how rich his fans are.

  • Wow, you guys have had it tough lately. 0/5 and 1/5 are taking over!

  • Cvlt

    Why is there a baby crying inbetween?!

  • Angelus

    This is what happens when we add the word “core” to anything talented…and someone takes it seriously.

  • I don’t understand the production/mix choices here. I can sort of make out drums, but I’m not sure. Even if you are essentially repeating the same same thing over and over, variation in drums can make it feel like you are not. I’m going to assume there are vocals and bass in there too and thing goes for them.. The main synth melody is fine, but that’s all its got as that’s all you can hear apart from a verbed out buzz.

    I choose to identify as someone who likes atmospheric black metal, but I dont like this (partly because I can’t hear it). I guess there really are an infinite number of genre variations out there.

    The guitar on the wall is crooked and it’s bothering me.

  • Bystander

    This sounds a lot like what the lady put on the last time I got a massage.

    • Wilhelm

      Did it ever climax? the music I mean.

    • Tofu muncher

      As long as it ended happily.

  • Gage

    Atmospheric black metal is never a genre I’ve understood. Apparently, “atmospheric” means awful production to enhance the “mood” and hide the complete lack of riffs. It’s poser shit for hipsters.

  • Bas

    This reminds me of Danzigs Black Aria (but the more sweet instead of dark). Mann.. that album was a disappointment.. I expected something more like Danzig III (no internet that time, and I missed reading about it in the magazines).

  • Noctus

    Not this fucking “band” again.

    edit: holy shit the baby crying