Lunar Aurora
Hoagascht

I distinctly remember getting introduced to Lunar Aurora from a Belgian friend back in 1996 and I have anticipated each and every release since. The number of bands that I have been listening to continuously for fifteen years or more and still looking forward to new material is a rather small list, usually I end up abandoning newer material in favor of past glories. Lunar Aurora, one of Germany’s finest black metal bands, is on that list and Hoagascht, will certainly not make me eschew their current catalog. Having written them off as lost years ago I was quite pleased to learn of their return. So what have the intervening years done to Whyrhd and Aran? For one thing they are still listening to second wave black metal, no doubt about that, and I think they spent a fair amount of time revisiting their own back catalog before returning to the studio. So after this hiatus have they picked up where they left off? Or are they refreshed, re-inspired and going on a tangent?

Ars Moriendi and Of Stargates and Bloodstained Celestial Spheres both featured songs less than eight minutes in length, so Hoagascht is in good company there, with all the songs here being less than eight minutes as compared to their customary tact. Twenty two songs over eight minutes in their career with eleven of them over ten minutes in length. This time in the six-seven minute range. This we have not heard from them since 2000. While I very much tie my listening pleasure with their lengthy songs, which encompass all of my favorites, the lengthy wandering linear compositions have been reigned in in favor of shorter wandering linear compositions. They have the ability to make a six minute song feel just as impressive in scope and flow as they can with fifteen minutes to work with.

The album starts off with spoken word, in German, with a backing of tranquil drumming and keys that start me wondering about a tangent, but in the end it is simply a lengthy intro, no troubles there. The song gets it’s true start about two and one half minutes in with harsh vocals, heavy riffs that wander and a heavy moody atmosphere. Only velocity is lacking and when the pace quickens keys still dominate and intensity is lacking. The music is repetitive in a good way but does not really grab you.

When “Nachteule” starts they set the rhythmic pattern and establish the mood and run. There is very nice guitar tone, as in appropriate. The wandering moody underlying guitar lines they are noted for are present and account well for themselves. The bells and whistles that catch your attention and give the songs distinction start to appear here, keeping an overarching depressed feel. A mournful wallowing in self pity is not really a Lunar Aurora thing but they can do it well.

Epic sadness, that is what is on display. Look to “Sterna,” not ‘depressive,’ ‘suicidal’ and the like, but majestic flowing compositions that deliver a dark mood. Another plodding slow piece with characteristic half hidden tidbits, like crumbs for Hansel and Gretel, and timely breaks. The rest of the album continues in like fashion. Not a bad album by any means, quite effective, nicely composed and stylish, but not the Lunar Aurora of old. I am glad they are back and this is a worthy album in its own right. And it is not a total abandonment of past efforts so I will recommend you long time fans stay on board and enjoy the slight right turn. Think “A Haudiga Fluag,” not a bad thing to expand upon.

Mayhap next time we will get reintroduced to the long intricate bombastic intensity, maybe not, either way I am along for the ride. One of my all time favorite German bands is back so you won’t find me complaining about that. Lunar Aurora is a band with such a strong back catalog I imagine it is hard for them to compete with themselves. All in all a very satisfying album.

Favorite songs include “Augenblick,” “Grimm,” “A Haudiga Fluag,” “Die Nacht,” “Schwarze Winde,” “Schwarzer Seelenspiegel,” and added from this album, “Beagliachda.”

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
May 21st, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Bast

    Review nails the overall feeling, some very good songs, but as an album, even if there is a certain flow,
    I think it falls just a bit short…


  2. Commented by: SRK

    One of my favourite all-time bands. Amazing album, not the least bit disappointed.


  3. Commented by: Unhold

    The whole album is done in the bavarian dialect, but I guess that only concerns people understanding german.


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