29 Apr 2023 - Martin
Progressive | Death Metal | 20 Buck Spin | Release date: 28 Apr 2023 | Favorite song: Spirit Body and the Seeing Self
When we really listen to music, we may cross a threshold into another dimension. From medicine songs of the Amazon to ecstatic Gospel hymns and Gregorian chant, music has always been a bridge between matter and spirit. Music serves as a powerful vehicle for enlightenment, inspiring others to the path. In other words, music can easily take the mind into a blissful space. It is definitely a way to feel an expansive awareness. In the case of Metal music, it can also be the aural representation of a spiritual need to transgress traditional boundaries, not just of music, but of general social expectation. It refuses entry to the mainstream by its very sonics, but it welcomes those who find release within those sonics. Metal is a jolt to the system. So, what if it would be possible to get this energetic jolt and to enter the aforementioned blissful space at the same time? Lunar Chamber might give you a hint or two, how this could sound like, with their astonishing debut EP Shambhallic Vibrations.
Think big, like really big, think about a supernova. In this case it is a powerful energy impact caused by two fixed stars called Blood Incantation and Dream Unending. Progressive Death Metal defines the space here. Not in outer space, but the vast universe of our inner self. Expansive and multi-layered, Lunar Chamber´s sound is at the same time brutal and dense as also very harmonic and somehow ”aerial”. What seems like a big contradiction in itself, is somehow made real by this anonymous fourpiece and the masterful mixing by Greg Chandler (Esoteric, Lychgate) and mastering by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice, Dysrythmia and Behold… the Arctopus). With established craftsmen like that, the end result cannot be anything else than a genre highlight of great quality.
The band has said themselves, that they are steadily searching for new paths for creation. They experience the inner urge and motivation to explore different soundscapes, melody, harmony, instruments, arrangements etc. These are their vehicles for achieving enlightenment, so to say. Fittingly the album concept is an open-ended story about a journey east in search for enlightenment, expansion of the mind and wisdom. Buddhism, Hinduism, spirituality and esotericism are the main reference points.
By transgressing traditional genre boundaries, they have found a new kind of hybrid, which is nearly perfecting the balance between pummeling Death Metal and ethereal ambiance. And yes, conceptually and soundwise you could be reminded of Focus-era Cynic. But here it is taken to the sonical extremes, as also interwined and balanced out in a way, like nobody has done before. Nevertheless I would like to give you further references, a path to Shambhallic Vibrations: Demilich, Lykathea Aflame, Voidceremony, Sutrah, Fallujah, Beyond Creation, Cosmic Putrefaction…by now you should know the direction we´re going.
The 5 track nearly 30 minute journey is full of crushing riffs, fascinating solos, atmospheric acoustics and overall technical skills of the highest order. After an intro track, that does a great job in setting the mood for what is to come, “Spirit Body and the Seeing Self” thrusts you directly into an beautiful and dangerous universe, where chaos and order sit side-by-side and you´re just in awe, eyes and mouth wide open, of the sights that rush past you or sometimes slow down to immerse you in a bubble of ethereal beauty. It is ”the start of the journey, self analysis, and the attempts at launching oneself into said ‘beyond’.” A short interlude track leads you then to “The Bodhi Tree” , which shows the more brutal side of Lunar Chamber. If the second track was like a heavier Cynic, this is definitely Blood Incantation/Gorguts territory. Though it turns more atmospheric and a bit lighter in sound half way into the track, through a sublime sequence of solo´s provided by all band members.
Fifth track “III. Crystalline Blessed Light Flows… from Violet Mountains into Lunar Chambers” is after that the ultimate pinnacle of the tale. The sonical palette of the record is further expanded by exquisite sections of Death-Doom. I would like to quote, what the press release has to say about the backstory of this almost 13 minute song: “Having reached a spiritual plane, pulses of light and dark; the very fabric of space-time itself churns. Knowledge is abundant here. Eventually, one is brought full circle, right back where everything began in normal life; albeit with a new sense of everything. But there is so much more to learn… a yearning thirst.”
Lunar Chamber came out of nowhere, but right away with their debut, they offer something inspiring. It isn´t perfect, nothing is, but there is a clear path to follow, for them and for us. And it is damn easy to join them on their journey to enlightenment/transcendence. See you on the other side!