REVIEW: Lumnos - Ancient Shadows Of Saturn (Flowing Downward)

Over time, Black Metal has whipped back and forth with experimentation. A few years back, you'd find all manner of genres crossing with it. You had no idea what to expect, at times you could get anything from techno-Black metal, Blackgaze, all the way to Pink Floyd-like progression, and even hip hop (New York's Romantic, for one)? That would slowly fade away, aside from a few choice examples, as people most likely saw that the experimental was mounting higher then the traditional stuff. That and some of it just was not good, or completely shat on the genre as a whole. But hey, it's 2018, and we're starting to see a nice little resurgence going on. And, thankfully, it's been pretty good.

Lumnos is one such experimental project, put forth by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Putrefactus. His idea, which I've seen in the past but done much differently, is 'Cosmic Black Metal'. And, as a complete and utter science fiction geek (with like a half-dozen incomplete SciFi novel attempts under his belt), I couldn't be more happy to get my hands on something like this. Yes, and how appropriate that I binge watched the Star Trek TNG movies right before this.

Simplicity and hypnotic repetition seem to be the key factor in what makes 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' so engrossing, almost entrancing. Putrefactus uses a combination of synth and reverb-laden guitars, both pushed back in the mix far enough to feel like the music is being presented within a vast space. When vocals are present, they are distant, definitely retaining the black metal vibe - only slow, 'airy', and lacking the aggression you'd expect from more traditional examples within the genre. How appropriate it is then, that Putrefactus would bring in a session vocalist for some dicey clean vocals later.

It isn't too surprising that I, and surely you, will find Lumnos to be almost like progressive rock or metal in nature - as a lot of the techniques used here are used within those sub-genres as well. But, this really isn't anything new, and the progressive elements work extremely well within a 'cosmic' theme.

I suppose the biggest problems with the 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' is the overall lack of vocal content. I find this is the element that truly makes this 'Black Metal' is the vocals. Otherwise it's more or less just DIY prog-rock. But, vast expanses of time can by without a sign - and things feel very... instrumental. When they do kick in, they are fantastic - mystifying and enigmatic. That is, aside from the clean vocals, which just don't seem to be all that well done or captivating. They are almost out of place, but so brief that it doesn't really seem to matter in the long run. Still, perhaps Putrefactus could have done without their inclusion or perhaps found a more suitable place for them.

It feels like Putrefactus is on the right track here with Lumnos. Creating something different can be a little difficult to do properly and he seems to have taken the time and done it right. I'm happy to see more solid examples coming out of the gate when it comes to the recent wave of black metal experimentation. But, lets have more like Lumnos - less Black Metal 'Hip Hop' this time.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

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