Lunar Aurora

Of the hundreds of bands that have taken 'In the Nightside Eclipse' as their main musical jumping-off point, only a paltry handful have succeeded in doing that legacy justice. Setherial's 'Nord...' is often cited as the best attempt to recapture the Emperor sound. However, in four albums to date, Lunar Aurora have not only captured much of the Emperor magic, they've expanded on it and are creating a legacy of their own.

The debut, 'Weltengänger', was remarkably confident and well executed, fast, keyboard-heavy black metal. My fear was that, like Setherial, they would have spent their creativity in one album. When I heard 'Seelenfeuer' I knew the band were something special.

The most obvious thing is that the members of Lunar Aurora actually have an extensive appreciation for and understanding of classical music. It's the difference between truly epic music and having a single buzzing, tuneless guitar smothered by a sweet quasi-medieval keyboard tune.

The opening song, "Mein Schattenbruder", truly deserves to be called a "composition". In almost nine minutes there is very little unnecessary repetition. Intelligent and aggressive guitar lines are everywhere. Even without keyboards, the band would be better than virtually anyone at creating dark, obscure, underground black metal. Working in concert with the frequently changing keyboard sounds, the band create intricate, monumental journeys rich with harmonic interest - not always neatly consonant, at that.

This band uses as many keyboards as anyone, perhaps even Limbonic Art, but Lunar Aurora are so far superior to that band that the comparison is pointless. The music is BLACK metal first and foremost, and is unremittingly dark, mysterious and aggressive. It is highly spiritual and never reeks of the members' egos. From the music to the lyrics and artwork (done by a band member), everything about this rings TRUE. They have not been affected by social pressure to fit into any style, a need for critical or commercial acclaim, or desire to fulfill an underground black metal image. I get the sense that they're doing this for themselves, and they do it as well as anyone ever has.

© 2001 j.s.