Eadem – Luguber Review

Eadem - Luguber 01There are phrases one never expects to encounter, phrases that raise more questions than they could answer on their own. One such phrase is “free jam black metal.” It raises such pressing questions as “why,” “who,” “how does such a thing come about,” and, of course, “…why?” The Netherlands’1 Eadem offers no explanations, only their art. Is this little intersection of blackened kvlt-ness and (I assume) enough weed to tranq a horse any good, or is it too blissed out to retain any edge?

As could be expected, the primary tension of the record as a whole is between aggression and serenity; between furious blasting and tremolo, and subtly dissonant chanting and rumbling bass. This is best exemplified on standout track “Acute Scarlet Melancholy,” but it’s present across the album, providing a solid bedrock to the other experimentation. The guitar work, when not your archetypal Darkthrone-esque tremolo, recalls the psychedelic stylings of The Grateful Dead, with splashes of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The bass work, especially on “Consecutive Dementia” and “Delusions of Grandeur,” takes on a strong jazz character in the Geezer Butler mold, cocooning the listener in its warmth in contrast to the ice of the guitar. The overall effect calls to mind a home-style pot pie, particularly given the charming “recorded underwater” aesthetic we’ve come to know and love(?) from Iron Bonehead’s releases.

However, also as one might expect, this thing is incredibly unfocused and meandering, flowing from section to section with little in the way of actual logic. The fuzzed-out style severely blunts what black metal edge does emerge, and the classic rock elements are only partially integrated at best. It’s also very short, clocking in at only 22 minutes (the label decided to call it a mini-album), but given the rambling nature of the beast, this is probably for the better, lest it seem interminably long. Still, it seems excessively short even for a black metal release, and further is somewhat repetitive despite the highly varied song structures.

Eadem - Luguber 02On the plus side, it sounds fantastic otherwise, with excellent mixing and mastering leaving all instrumental components clear even through all the cotton manifested in your speaker. A DR10 master most certainly helps this and gives every element extraordinary breathing room. The guitar tones could stand to be sharper, of course, and the vocals, while savage and piercing (or haunting, in the case of the clean chants), are often blurred to unintelligibility by the lo-fi aesthetic, and further by extraneous echo.

In the end, all other questions fall away, leaving just one: who is this for? Besides the musicians themselves, I can’t answer that. While competently performed, Luguber proves entirely too directionless to recommend to even the kvltest ov the kvlt.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Recordings
Website: eadem.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: October 19th, 2018

Show 1 footnote

  1. Metal Archives reports them as Portuguese, but the band’s demo-era Bandcamp gives them as Dutch.
« »