Lush, beautiful imagery is not something totally foreign to metal landscapes anymore. To say that what we consider and embrace in this style of music’s multiple sub-genres is expansive might be a bit of an understatement. But I think it speaks to many listeners’ diversity and ability to absorb and enjoy many types of sounds.
With bands such as Les Discrets and Alcest adding more sensitive, atmospheric tones to metal’s landscapes, more color, air-flushed arrangements have become common. Another band that has changed the way we see and hear metal is Lustre, the one-man project that is the brainchild of Nachtzeit who has been making mind-expanding, fantasy-level music ever since the project’s formation in 2008. While skating along the outer edges of black metal, Lustre’s sound has grown more organically soothing and image-conjuring as time has gone on. This band’s music really isn’t here to light your heathen heart ablaze and have you seeing fire raging in your own eyes. Instead, it is designed to capture you and take you somewhere you never dreamed, where your imagination can take flight. Along the way, the music has it barbs and waves of power, but that’s more one element of a larger picture rather than the overall point.
Lustre is back in our stratosphere with “Blossom,” the project’s fifth record to date and one of its most adventurous yet. The four movements that stretch over 33 minutes are as calming and tranquil as anything Nachtzeit has created so far, but fret not if you think you’ve been abandoned. Far-off roars and displays of energy do color in some of the corners and satisfy any urge you have to feel something metallic. But again, that’s not the point to this record or any of Lustre’s efforts, and you’re far better off letting go of any expectations and floating off into the clouds with this music.
“Part 1” of the piece begins with some New Age-style trickling, setting you at a sense of mystical wonder before some power bursts in. The melody traipses over the length of the cut, tying it all together, and wild cries can be heard in the background, washed out by the surrounding sounds. The keys glimmer like the soundtrack to a fantasy film, with spacey voices swirling through that feel hypnotic, as well as a finish that concludes in the air. “Part 2” begins in that same expansive space, eventually gushing open and delivering lush melodies. Vocals coloring the background emerge, with the overall spine of the song enrapturing and a doom fury falling to the ground. But it’s not doom in a sooty sense; more of in a darkening thunderstorm feel. The track hits a trancey high, with all elements smooshing together and eventually bringing this giant vision to an end.
“Part 3” spill in with watery keyboards and gazey power that feels like sunbeams cutting through a thick morning fog. A similar melody that snakes through the rest of the album shows its face in a varied form, with the music glimmering and shining brightly amid the murk. The vocals feel more feral than they do elsewhere, giving this a call-of-the-wild aura, and later calm permeates, with steady drumming driving, the dramatic tension giving way, and the back end of the song releasing you slowly. The final section “Part 4” feels solemn and mildly stormy at the start, with an orchestral sense to it all, synth waves wafting overhead and covering the area like a thick blanket, and the song eventually letting go of its grip. You might find yourself staring at the sky as you watch this whole orb of sound float away and out of your dream world.
Nachtzeit’s dimensions continue to expand with every record, and “Blossom” is no exception. Lustre’s universe doesn’t look like many other metal artists’ nor does it intend to, and it’s great having this project alive and continually adding to our dreamscapes. Everyone needs an escape now and again, and Lustre provides the perfect pathway for that journey.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lustresweden
To buy the album, go here: http://www.nordvis.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.nordvis.com/