Review: Lunar Mantra – Genesis

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Mix two parts ambient interlude, three parts atmospheric blackness, a dash of post-metal and plenty of layered dissonance to taste. Build robust fire from mossy, deciduous wood. Simmer 38 mins. Serve under the silver light of a full moon. Garnish with black robes and lit torches.

The wordless, instrumental album opener has always been a listening experience highlight for me, especially when done well. I love diving into an album that prides itself on creating an enveloping, wholly unique world of sound with which to frame its music. Sadly it seems to have fallen out of favor for many bands, perhaps because it’s been overused to the point of instant contempt when you see it on a track list. “Track one is two minutes long and says instrumental? Fuck that bro, let’s get on with it already *skip*.”

I was especially pleased to hear Glasgow’s Lunar Mantra utilize an instrumental opening to great effect on their debut mini album Genesis, perhaps acknowledging that their style of murky, cult-ish, black-ish metal benefits greatly from having the listening stage properly set. Take a listen to opening track “Ingress Thy Web Hast Spun” – the deep, thrumming drums, shadowed chants and all manner of small instruments providing spacial textures – this is the opening of a ritual to which we are privy. The second track “Stellar Catacombs” throws the flash powder into the bonfire and slams a mass of bloody, fast-paced kvlt riffings on either side of a mid-song atmospheric interlude, encouraging trancelike detachment. “Wealth Has Become the Shrines of Azazel” continues the ritual spaciousness before picking up into a mid-paced scattershot of dissonant and dueling guitar leads, churning through cold winds and fading light.

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The nine-minute “Xanthotic Madness” is a particular highlight as the album’s emotional crescendo, mixing a soaring melody with burbling rhythms that simultaneously assist and challenge the mood of the track for its entire duration, lulling you into a sense of acceptance that the musical statement Lunar Mantra present here could very well go on forever and still not reveal its true nature. We close with a final instrumental, Ecstacy of Egression, that echoes the opening track’s ritual tones and provides an unsettling acknowledgement of entities lurking just outside your vision, waiting in silence for the next invocation, closing with only the faintest hint of melody.

Containing a tight 5 tracks, Genesis fits a surprising amount of content into its 38 minutes, smartly eliminating bulk or bloat and keeping its malevolent mission statement focused and uncluttered. The “low contrast” production is smooth and well-rounded (despite lacking a bit of low end in the bass and kicks), lending itself well to the hollow, chilled shadows of November that you’re bound to encounter on your commute, your run, or wherever else you listen to new music. The downside is that the tracks do tend to blend together a bit, even after several listens. While only having three proper tracks on this mini album helps that problem, in that you won’t listen to 4 to 6 songs that all sound similar, you can’t help wanting to hear them break free of that standard mid-paced blast beat that so many other bands with a similar post-metal influence use.

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Stream Genesis below and check out Lunar Mantra‘s smoldering Glaswegian ritual for yourself.

 

3.5 Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_3-5_of_5

Lunar Mantra on BandcampFacebookInvictus Productions

  • Vote for Jeb

    Why is Charli XCX one of the recommended articles?

    • Is the sign of an upcoming Guacamole Jim article.

      • Sir Tapir The Based

        OH GOD NO

      • i wish

      • Salvador Dalí Lama

        When is his cousin, Babaghanoush Jerry, gonna start writing for the site?

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Up next is Jerry Babaganoush! He makes handmade chili bowls for struggling theme parks!

          http://i416.photobucket.com/albums/pp245/teh_shokoi/mxc.gif

          • Vote for Jeb

            Cybro, I’ve seen way too much of this show for my own good. It’s weirdly something that both my wife and I agree is absolutely hilarious.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            You and me both, it’s flawless television.

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            Lol, this definitely compliments the Gaki No Tsukai kick I’ve been on!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNH6kffuiSM

          • CyberneticOrganism

            This looks entertaining

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            Indeed it is! The punishments for wrong answers are hilariously sadistic, and the host revels in their shame.

    • JWEG

      Looks to me like ‘UK’ tag did it.

      To be fair, that is accurate in both cases. It’s still jarring.

  • Vote for Jeb

    This is a cool album. The transitions feel a little jarring, but they themselves are cool.

  • That track is spooky, hmmm.That artwork is killer though. I like.

  • BEARD-SPLITTER

    Burbling

  • According to Metal Archives, Exortivm plays the Ambience instrument.

  • this album was really, really good. thanks Robit!

  • everyone must be doing work…. the commenting is slow.

    Work<<<<<<<

    • BEARD-SPLITTER

      Soakin up them hours, broooo

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Burbling hours.

        • BEARD-SPLITTER

          *burbles

        • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

          Nergling hours.

    • Waynecro

      Slow commenting is better than slow commenters.

  • Waynecro

    “Xanthotic Madness” and “Stellar Catacombs” are pretty strong jams. Thanks!

    • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

      It’s spelled ‘Stellar Catcombs’, remember? (at least according to the track listing)

      http://www.brooklynpaper.com/assets/photos/37/6/dtg-kitty-grooming-2014-02-07-bk04_z.jpg

      • Waynecro

        Crap.

        • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

          I can picture a Bond villain or Dr. Evil combing their cat and being evil during one of their dark rituals.

          https://media.giphy.com/media/Yq1pe2v7nNlwA/giphy.gif

          • Waynecro

            Now the song title is just all silly.

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            Not for me, considering I have a black cat. Her grimness levels just skyrocketed.

          • Waynecro

            Cats can be pretty evil. One time, I cut a significant chunk of flesh off my hand trying to open a beer bottle with a disposable lighter. Almost immediately, my pal’s cat hopped on the counter and ate the flesh chunk. Evil.

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            My cat would just stare at it and be like “can I go outside again? It’s been a whole 30 seconds”.

          • Waynecro

            Come to think of it, my dog seems to like the taste of my blood. I’m beginning to suspect that small animals just want to eat me. If die alone in my room, I’m dog food for sure.

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            That’s actually happened to a number of pet hoarders who’ve kicked the bucket.

          • Waynecro

            I’ve read about that before. It’s one of the perils of being made of delicious meat.

          • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

            That and hoarding 100+ pets.

          • Waynecro

            My tiny dog could eat a whole person. He’s always hungry.

  • Óðinn

    3.5 flaming toilets. Not bad.

  • Scroinklypoop McFartinPloppin

    Pretty fucking good so far! First two tracks remind me ALOT of Yelworc’s ‘Blaze Of Downfall’.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjgUHaYcaqs&list=PLnjob2x9w7L-Wylt_wXCAN7LUKZd8w4uI

  • Eliza

    You can only stream Genesis for free.