Review by Allan on October 7, 2004.
Birthed from the wombs of such bands as Borknagar, Spiral Architect, 1349 and Satyricon, one can make a fairly accurate guess as to where exactly Norway's Lunaris sit on the imaginary musical spectrum that we all like to overuse in an attempt to easily classify such things. The avant-garde aspect of Borknagar shines through Lunaris' thick black metal foundation, and of course, the Spiral Architect influence pushes them far enough to be labeled as post-black metal. Surprisingly enough, Lunaris manage to shape things into a well-rounded follow-up to their debut, Cyclic.
There are a number of things that can go wrong when it comes to anything labeled as post-black metal (or post-anything for that matter). Such things as incongruity and a lack of cohesiveness are often what ruin albums by bands who set their sights too high. However, after numerous listens, I think it's safe to say that Lunaris has more or less evaded such troubles.
Black metal is the inarguably the central sound for Lunaris. The vocals and the guitar-work revolve around this style for the most part, keeping in mind that there are plenty of gaps that are filled by progressive and death metal. The progressive influence is an integral part of Lunaris' sound. The riffs, despite being rooted in black metal, are certainly of progressive nature. Needless to say, at times things get quite technical; thankfully, Lunaris never get in over their heads. In addition to the technical guitar work, we're treated to both clean and black metal vocals courtesy of Balfori and Maztema, and some tasteful keyboards. Most importantly, the music on Cyclic sounds full, inspired, and mature.
Lunaris is one of the few bands that have actually gotten the post-black metal thing down. The harsh, grating, coldness of black metal can be felt amidst the tumultuous death metal edge, which is held together by the technical prowess of progressive metal. When you're in the mood for such a mixture of metal, what more could you ask for? Cyclic has solidified Lunaris' place in the metal scene.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.8 out of 10