Lustre // They Awoke to the Scent of Spring
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Worth losing Angry Metal Points™ over.
Label: De Tenebrarum Principio
Release Dates: EU: 09.03.2012 | NA: 07.30.2012 [Digitally]
If you’re like me, extreme metal gets tiring every once in a while. There’s only so many blast beats and guttural screams one can take before it starts becoming a little monotonous. “Weakling!” I hear you cry [Actually I was going to call you a “pussy”. Also, I just docked you 25 Angry Metal Points™. – AMG], but I prefer the concept of moderation so as to not sink into stagnation. No, I’m not running off to spin the latest Lady Gaga track or indulging in smatterings of Peruvian pan flute bands, but rather I seek the quiet solace of bands that maybe aren’t all about heaviness, brutality or punishing riffage. That is where bands like Lustre come in, tapping into the raw power that dwells within nature and the world around us. And now with the release of They Awoke to the Scent of Spring, I have yet another album to take me away from the constant barrage of heaviness that is a vast majority of modern metal.
Doom-infused black metal often evokes ancient cathedral walls, coated in the blasphemous muck of black metal with snail’s pace riffs coming down like the wrath of Satan himself, but Lustre goes the other way with the pace being dictated by a introspective melancholy. If you are familiar with main-man Nachzeit’s prior work, then They Awoke is very clearly a logical progression from previous albums. Guitar lines wander the forests and plains of a familiar world, monotonous synth lines creep out of crevasses to peek at daylight and the unintelligible vocals (used more as an instrument than a messenger) soar above the landscape in a mix of triumph and pain that makes sense the second you hear them. The lack of distinct song structure and the slow, lumbering pace of the music makes Lustre a band to get lost in and to get lost to.
Lacking song titles and very little else to guide the listener, the narrative is a simple, yet eloquent one. From what I can gather of the four lines that make up the lyrics across two songs (yet, the pace is that slow) They Awoke… tells the story of some undescribed beings caught in an endless cycle, namely, awaking to the scent of spring. While the concept is short and sweet, the funereal pace of the music creates a sombre and tragic air. The atmosphere is palpable on this album and is thankfully free of the jarring upbeat sections that appeared on the previous EP, Of Strength and Solace. While they were fun and certainly some the catchiest little jingles I’ve heard Nachzeit produce, they were so at odds to the rest of the music it left quite a sour taste in my mouth.
At only forty minutes long, They Awoke… feels like it should have more space to really emphasise the mood that it creates, but I think that if that was the case it would trip over the line between monotonous layering and redundant navel gazing that a lot of these sorts of bands end up doing. Instead, it is a comfortably compact work that will grow on you with each listen – though I will say that it’s definitely not for everyone. Lustre taps into something very primal within my being and I really can’t wait for the weather to clear up so that I can go for a forest walk with an appropriately fitting soundtrack. If your shrink suggests you are listening to too much aggressive music and is trying to force Whalesong: The Greatest Hits on you, Lustre‘s latest offering might be just the thing to get them off your back!