Luna’s Call – Void [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

2020 provided plenty of quality metal releases, but only a scant few of those which tickled my fancy fall into the “progressive metal” category. Of those, we missed two that deserve mention. The first is Cellar Vessel’s immense slab of Xanthrochroided symphonic prog-death, entitled Vein Beneath the Soil. The second—and, obviously, more preferred, since I’m writing about it—is UK quartet Luna’s Call’s sophomore epic Void.

Luna’s Call haven’t been around very long, but they certainly sound as well-traveled as anyone. Mature, complex songwriting abounds on Void, but not at the expense of fun or excitement. Unlike their debut, which felt like Opeth channeling tech death and Danny Elfman, their sophomore effort blossoms in theatrical Native Constructs with the same flair for the dramatic that Queen often evokes. Individual elements mutate according to the needs of the song, which is exactly how any progressive metal band should incorporate them. Correspondingly, songs mutate according to the needs of the album, again exactly as any progressive metal band should compose them. As a result, Void feels like an expansive concept record and is, therefore, best experienced as a whole.

If there was any one song to convince you further, dear readers, that this record demands your time, attention, and money, it’s “Solar Immolation.” A scathing, scalding opus totaling over 13 minutes in length, this blazing number traverses the gamut of Luna’s Call’s arsenal of tools. Lush strings and space-age synths collaborate with a beautiful piano melody, carried to your ears on the back of a super slick prog-death introduction. From that point, the song juggles different sounds and landscapes without so much as a hiccup. By the time “Solar Immolation” ends, it takes some willpower not to pause and just let the silence punctuate the moment for a minute…

No! We must continue, for there is much left to explore, like “Enceladus and the Life Inside.” Breathtaking vocal melodies melt amidst noodly bass lines and sweet piano arpeggios. It might not be a heavy track, but the burden of its emotional weight too easily ensconces my senses, causing shivers to race up my spine. “Locus” plays with false starts and silence, which troubled me at first, but I quickly came to regard it as one of the standouts of the album because it keeps me on my toes. Immediately following “Locus,” “In Bile They Bathe” executes a swift kick to the balls before booking it—a fine, upstanding power move which proves that the band knows how to self-edit, only putting material where it belongs in measures that make sense.

It makes sense, then, that Luna’s Call close out the record with another long-form banger, “Fly Further Cosmonaut.” Prog-death, delivered with barebones instrumentation, suddenly explodes in a lush crescendo before immediately retreating to pensive plucking and excellent clean singing only to then bring forth a veritable smorgasbord of dynamic twists and satisfying textures. And just like that, Void is over. No frivolous outros or pretentious monologues. It just ends. Magnificent.

Tracks to Check Out: “Solar Immolation,” “Enceladus and the Life Inside,” “Locus,” and “Fly Further Cosmonaut”

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