The Tenant

Amidst all of this shoe gaze injected black metal and atmospheric black metal abound in the US, the fact has been lost that the Bay Area’s Ludicra have been plying their artistic and experimental take on black metal for four albums now. And while Wolves in the Throne Room, seem to get all the attention as far as USBM, the fact is Ludicra are equally deserving of praise for their consistently elegant take on black metal, that seems to be a bit over looked.

As most “in” folks are aware, Ludicra is a sort of super group that features Jon Cobbet (Hammers of Misfortune, Slough Feg), Ross Sewage (Impaled, Exhumed, Wolves in the Throne Room) as well as Agalloch current drummer Aesop Decker. Throw in two femme fatales by way of vocalist Laurie Sue Shanaman and guitarist /vocalist Christy Cather, and the end result is a collaboration that mixes and highlights all the members’ influences and skills into one seamless, exceptional record that continues Ludicra’s under rated consistency and brilliance.

Truth is ‘black metal’ is far too a restrictive term, considering the plethora of elements at play here. Sure, Laurie Sue Shanaman has a piercing shriek and there is plenty of bristling, tremolo picked riffage, but they are intertwined with a tangible Bay sense of heavy metal, post rock, some layered, melancholic hues, lots of acoustic atmosphere and some clean female vocals. It all comes together in a warm organic production and rangy, developed songs that don’t play like songs, but large set pieces intertwined over 50 minutes of enthralling, artistic music.

Opener, “Stagnant Pond” takes a while to get going before finally delivery some excellent urgent melodic riffage svelte solo work and a dreamy closing. As if in total reversal, second track “A Larger Silence” instantly delivers some slicing tremolo picked riffing and harsh screams and then settles into a languid ethereal transition. And thus is the balance of the album that’s able to cover such drastic changes smoothly and elegantly. “In Stable” and “Clean White Void” both have a choppy thrash tempo that reminds of fellow West Coasters Grayceon and Walken (not surprising since Jackie Perez Gratz has helped out with Ludricra in the past). Then “The Undercaste” is yet another shift, with a dreamy delicate gait that starts to borders on black/doom sludge and a soft, acoustic ending.

9-minute Penultimate track “Truth Won’t Set You Free” is the album’s highlight, with a dramatic, layered acoustic ebb over a blast beat opening things up into a full on assault of black fury laced with a beautiful, climactic ending that actually would have been the prefect ending to the album, but the title track brings up the rear, with a little of a let down but nothing that hampers the albums overall brilliance and cementing Ludricra as one of the US’s best kept secrets.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 19th, 2010


  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    saw these cats last night in Brooklyn and they were absolutely maddeningly good. If you ever have a chance to see them live and you pass it up then you have done yourself a grave injustice.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    excellent write-up, very much looking fwd to picking this up, loved the last two. and yes they are terrific live but bring earplugs – saw them at a tiny venue in Phoenix and it was the loudest show I have ever seen.

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    also it’s worth mentioning that Aesop runs one of the best music blogs on the web, Cosmic Hearse.

    Writeups and downloads of rare black metal, doom, prog and weirdness from every corner of the globe, all sorts of buried treasures you won’t find elsewhere. If you haven’t been yet, you will spend hours there.

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Carrion Throne - The Feast of Human Vices EP
  • Kittie - Fire
  • Mad Hatter - Oneironautics
  • Serement - Abhorrent Invocations
  • Limbonic Art - Opus Daemoniacal
  • Bloodcross - Gravebound
  • Sentiment Dissolve - The Orwellian Dream
  • Replacire - The Center That Cannot Hold
  • Wormwood - The Star
  • Cavalera - Schizophrenia
  • Gatecreeper - Dark Superstition
  • Henry Kane - Circle of Pain
  • Grand Demise of Civilization - The Blaze of Abaddon
  • Anthropophagus Depravity - Demonic Paradise
  • Downcross - White Tower