Suldusk – Lunar Falls [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Spotify’s Discover features serve me well. For without my Discover Weekly playlist or the Artist and Playlist radio station features,1 I do not know whether I would have stumbled across Suldusk’s stunning debut album Lunar Falls in time to join the flurry of this year’s Things You Might Have Missed posts.

Suldusk is the one woman neo folk blackgaze project of Emily Highfield of Melbourne, Australia. The first track of Suldusk’s I encountered was “The Elm.” After hearing just a handful of finger-picked acoustic guitar strings in the first measure, the riff sounded suspiciously familiar. A quick internet search told me I was listening to an adaptation of “Sinking Ships” by doom/goth metal band Trees of Eternity. I additionally uncovered the fact that dear Emily dedicated her entire debut to the memory of Trees vocalist Aleah Stanbridge. Aleah tragically passed away before the release of Trees of Eternity’s debut Hour of the Nightingale, which was ultimately released as a posthumous tribute to her memory by her partner and other Trees half Juha Raivio (Swallow the Sun, Hallatar). Given my fierce adoration for Hour of the Nightingale, I immediately fell in love with Emily’s motives and her thoughtful blend of dark, acoustic folk and atmospheric black metal. Every subsequent listen to Lunar Falls tugs viciously at my heartstrings.

Releasing an adaptation of a Trees of Eternity track means big shoes need to be filled. It also demonstrates that Suldusk is not afraid to take risks. This is what I find deeply refreshing and inspiring about Suldusk. On Lunar Falls, she does not disappoint; she awes. Emily wraps her satiny smooth voice around your heart, and, when her vocals turn violently twisted, tightens her grip relentlessly. Her warm and soft, ethereal vocals on “The Elm” and “Three Rivers” are starkly contrasted with demonic black metal shrieks on “Solus Ipse” and “Aphasia.” Both the soft and aggressive styles of Emily’s vocals are so emotionally charged that both somehow feel equally pained and tender.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for Suldusk’s audacious debut with you. Marked by the haunting sound of raven calls in opening track “Eleos,” Suldusk draws listeners deep into her musical forest for for 43 minutes on Lunar Falls. Pacifying at times and shiver-inducing at others, Lunar Falls is an album that initially slipped under my radar but absolutely should not be missed. Emily is already hard at work on album number two, this time around with four other musicians. I cannot wait to hear how she works together with her new bandmates to fill out her sound for an album of more epic proportions. Given the strength of Suldusk’s debut, it is difficult to imagine something better.

Tracks to Check Out: “Solus Ipse,” “The Elm,” “Sovran Shrines”

Show 1 footnote

  1. To my consternation, I cannot remember which is responsible for this discovery.
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