They Awoke the Scent of Spring
I just reviewed The Netherlands’ Laster, and now here’s Sweden’s Lustre. Laster, meet Lustre. Lustre, Laster. Both are atmospheric black metal from the genre equivalent of House Stark, but Lustre is more ambient and stripped-down. Good for late-night reverie, bad for driving.

The four long, highly repetitive tracks on They Awoke the Scent of Spring remind me closely of Burzum’s quieter and more meditative work, specifically the 15-minute “Tomhet,” from Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, and the 25-minute “Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte” off of Filosofem. There’s also a strong Summoning vibe here as well, particularly mid-career albums like Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur.

The tracks, simply named “I” through “IV,” are built around two to three segments, where each short melody is looped for hypnotic effect. For instance, the first six minutes of “I” are comprised of the same short, bleak segment, repeated over and over. That may sound dull and boring as hell, but it’s actually quite soothing (if not for the murmured rasps buried beneath the cloudy, gritty tone of the guitars). After six minutes, a gentle transition to a more hopeful bridge segment, which repeats for another three minutes, and then a final three minutes of an ethereal, chiming and wistful closeout. “II’ and “III” follow suit – a long, slow exhale on each, backed by funereal synths and hissed, Parseltongue vocals. Chiming keys, distorted strings, dulcimer tones and sleepy drone rise and fall in and out of the murk. “IV” is little more than drone and the sound of falling rain. And that’s it.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the album, despite the fact that it’s so repetitive. I wondered if the songs would be more successful if Nachtzeit (the composer) had trimmed a couple of minutes here and there, per section. Then I remembered Paris in 2006.

In January of that year, I was in the city on a business trip, and had an extra day to tour around and explore. The morning was bleak but dry, so I spent a couple of hours snapping photos in the mausoleum-city of Montmartre Cemeterie. After that, it started to drizzle, so I headed underground – literally – to the skull-and-bone-lined highways of the Parisian catacombs. There weren’t many fellow tourists down there that day, and so by lingering a little longer behind the group ahead, I was able to buy myself enough distance so that I could be completely alone, with only “Tomhet” and “Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte” to keep me company on my headphones – and the thousands of eyeless, silent watchers in the walls, of course.

I had to restart “Tomhet” several times because I enjoyed the mood so much, and would have been perfectly content with a 30-minute running time instead of its 15. And so, that’s why a long, repetitive 40-minute experience like They Awoke the Scent of Spring has its place in the genre. Had it been released back then, it would have been a perfect fit for my wanderings as well.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
August 9th, 2012


  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Nice write up. I agree that repetition can be a good thing in moody, atmospheric metal. Sometimes you just want a riff to keep on going. So, where’s the Laster review from last week? I don’t see it.

  2. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz

    lol this one was supposed to be published second

  3. Commented by: dunkelheit

    great review, great album, and great example of where this type of music really makes sense.

  4. Commented by: E. Thomas
  5. Commented by: Apollyon

    Laster review goes live tomorrow.

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