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I know for a fact I am in the minority in my opinion that Limbonic art's later, more riff-oriented material is superior to their bombastic earlier records. Moon in the Scorpio is lauded in some circles as some sort of melancholic, somber masterpiece of symphonic black metal. Limbonic Art is probably my favorite black metal band ever, but I'm sorry, this just doesn't cut it for me.
To my ears, most of the equipment used on In Abhorrence Dementia seems to be present here as well, including the artificial sounding drum samples and thin keyboards. Still, even In Abhorrence Dementia had a crunchy guitar tone that pulled at least some of Morfeus' killer riffs out of the aether. This album's distortion is paper-thin and fails to sell any of the purported aggression. There are some decent riffs, but it is such a chore to dig through the superficial layers of pomp to get to them that the entire ordeal becomes far too patience-testing for it's own good. Moon in the Scorpio embodies all of the overstuffed, bombastic qualities of In Abhorrence Dementia and removes any of the memorable passages.
I'll be the first to admit that Morfeus can texture some truly enthralling keyboard melodies, but the faux-classical style he tinkered with on the first two albums definitely didn't play to his strength. He is better at layering the synthetic, ersatz synth lines present on later Limbonic Art albums and his own Dimension F3H project. His operatic warbling can be effective in small doses, but as a rule it is overused here. I will concede that the title track is decent, the main melody that comprises it is engrossing enough and there are small hints of what is to come present near it's conclusion. "Through Gleams of Death" keeps wafting back and forth between above average and stock, ultimately being more frustrating than it is worth. The reissue bonus track "The Dark Rivers of the Heart" is the real winner here and it is a shame it was left off of the original pressing. The melody that the rest of the song orbits around is just sublime, so dig that one out of the vault if you can find it.
Daemon doesn't seem to have much of a hand in the songwriting here. I can't really weed out his riffing style due to the busy, eclectic nature of many of these cuts. His demonic shrieks are fitting enough, but I still prefer the abrasive approach he perfected on The Ultimate Death Worship. The band was fond enough of "Darkzone Martyrium" to include it as a live staple during their few live shows, but I fail to see much of an appeal in it. It comes off as a poor man's "Misanthropic Spectrum", and other than a short keyboard line about midway through, is hard to keep around. The eyelids grow heavy as the song (as much of the album) drags on and on; a track best skipped.
As a final note, I have to mention the artwork. Morfeus painted the entire thing and has the original hanging in his living room. It is truly a great work of art, and serves as an interesting precursor to the digital artwork style he would adopt for his later efforts like on Legacy of Evil. The cover art is in fact better than the album itself, which is kind of a shame honestly. I really wanted to give this one a chance, and while I can find time for In Abhorrence Dementia more often than not, I can't necessarily say the same regarding Moon in the Scorpio. Overrated.
One of the most well-known and praised symphonic black metal bands of all time, Limbonic Art's approach to the genre is quite different from the one of its peers (honestly I feel that comparing them to Emperor is inaccurate), emphasizing the symphonic elements way more than the (black) metal elements.
The biggest shock for me, when I first listened to this, was the astonishing lack of memorable riffing. There are virtually no riffs in here (the few discernible ones being buried by either the keyboards or the production), and the guitars are used as a rhythmic instrument. The only memorable lead I can remember (and what a great fucking lead, may I add) is the one on the epic 13-minute-opener 'Beneath the Burial Surface'. Besides that, and the aforementioned discernible guitar riffs throughout the album, the guitar work tends to sound like fuzzy, background noise, being ridiculously low in the mix (at least for a black metal record). So, if you're not a fan of keyboards in metal, move along, because this may not appeal to you.
Also, the band doesn't use a human drummer, instead opting for a drum machine. Oh, great. It's not enough for this to not have riffs, but also they don't have real drums either? Well, they're surprisingly well programmed, and if they were to be played by a human, the drum patterns would require a good deal of technical proficiency. These ones incorpore a pretty good amount of cymbals, fills, double bass and of course the ever present blast beats. They really don't sound as tame and lifeless as one might think.
The vocals are noteworthy, consisting of hoarse, throaty shrieks and shouts, not being extremely high-pitched, being rather growl-ish, instead. They sound agonizing, desperate, and menacing. There's also a decent amount of operatic vocals, that tend to sound like Attila Csihar's work on Mayhem, contributing to the dark atmosphere of the music, and even a few female ones, used in lesser amounts, mostly serve as choirs or as a background for the male ones, never never being overbearing or excessive.
The main draw of this album are the symphonic and orchestral arrangements. They are not simple, plastic, cheap Casio-like keyboard lines, instead being extremely sophisticated, tasteful and elaborated, resembling to such degree a real orchestra, with pianos, organs, wind instruments, and strings, that the listener can't help but to be captivated by them. They're pretty much the core of the music, taking the spotlight and being at the front of the music the entire time. This record would have failed hard if it weren't for them. And since they keep you entertained and inmersed in the music, there comes a point when you won't even miss the riffs.
Also, they manage to create this dense, dark, mysterious, at times ritualistic gothic atmosphere, unmatched by any other well-known albums (or bands, for that matter) of the style. The orchestral intros (present in the majority of the tracks), interludes and outros enhance this atmosphere. I can imagine myself wandering in the depths of a haunted castle, with the sounds from this ghastly symphony surrounding everything around me, evil spirits lurking around me, and eventually, me joining to them. This feeling is enhanced by the imagery present on the lyrical themes, that portray death, and spirits traveling through realms of darkness.
Despite the production issues, the record largely succeeds in conveying a sinister and dark feel, due to the atmospheric effect provided by the symphonies, the buzzing, blurry noise that are the guitars, and the haunted vocals. It also proves that black metal doesn't always need riffs or mindless brutality, and that sophistication and refinement, when done right, can also portray unabashedly evil.
Moon in the Scorpio is easily one of the best albums in the band’s discography. The albums is able to capture a terrifying, eerie, cold atmosphere. The song lengths are closer to atmospheric black metal, each being about 8 minutes in length. These long songs completely seduce the listener into an astral journey of psychedelic insanity. Repetition is an element that is used to the band’s advantage here, with the menacing instrumentation. How exactly does the band manage to use repetition to its advantage, you may ask? Well, for one the magic of this album wouldn’t exist without it, it as a necessary element to bring the listener into a long trance. The melodies never become too repetitive in a way that they would be irritating, instead, they also shift as the songs move into a different state. In addition, in some cases it’s the vocals that change, instead of the overall melody.
Speaking about vocals, the album mainly uses distant, high-pitched screams that are at just the perfect volume, not too loud to take the center of attention and become a distraction, but also loud enough to be heard behind the wall of sound that the band creates. Think of Summoning and Profanum type of vocals, very emotional and fitting to the music. Apart from the main vocals, there are also some female vocals, although used very sparingly, as well as a few spoken lines. Finally there are some wailing screams, which are comparable to those in depressive black metal as well. But such an incredible piece of art would need a plethora of elements, additional to vocals.
The main sound comes from keyboards, they are the magical instrument that drives the album into oblivion. This instrument is also responsible for about half of the astral and distant atmosphere of the album. They are loud enough to stand their ground behind the distortion of the electric guitars and drive the music. The keyboards are the main instrument that guides all the others in the direction it wants. The guitars play a fuzzy distortion, similar to its contemporaries in the second-wave of black metal, producing a wall of sound responsible for the remaining half of its atmosphere.
What makes the album shine as a gem in its genre is its unique approach to the sound itself, although it is symphonic black metal it also has many influences from atmospheric black metal. This album is also true black metal mixed with a heavy sound of keyboards and psychedelic elements. This is the Pink Floyd of Black metal, so to speak. Only the insane minds of Morfeus and Daemon would be able to come up with a masterpiece like this one, capturing the best of true black metal, symphonic black metal and atmospheric black metal. This is one of the most interesting albums of black metal, and definitely a symphonic black metal masterpiece.
Originally written for sputnikmusic.com
Where do you even begin when reviewing an album of this caliber? This is without a doubt among the coldest, most diabolical, grim black metal ever written.
The songs on this album are exceedingly long which is something very few bands can pull off this well. They usually start with a classical intro which builds up in a crescendo of intensity until the song explodes into freezing reverb, drenched tremolo guitar, and classical strings. The drum machine pounds away in the background, but due to the slow rate of chord changes the songs end up having a mid-paced feel. Each song is packed with all kinds of interesting breakdowns and classical flourishes which keep them exciting. One of my favorite sections is at the end of the first track. The song fades out and you're left with the windy, blowing sounds of synths, howling wolves, rain, and Daemon's diabolical vocals:
As night arrives in its purple shades
I drift across the shallow graves
The soul is streaming in the wind
Dark is the blessing that I am in
Nocturnal poetry, indeed.
Other notable elements include the huge intro to the song "In Mourning Mystique", which includes masterfully-written classical sections, choir vocals, dark poetry, and lyrics from Nietzsche. Each song has its own collection of astounding moments.
So what's bad about this album? My only gripe is the same complaint the band themselves had. The guitar tone on the 1996 version was way too harsh. They may have corrected this though on the 2001 remastered version.
All in all Moon in the Scorpio is a fairly unknown album of a band who was at one time operating on a higher level than the majority of their peers. If you have even a slight interest in black metal or dark music in general, you owe it to yourself to give this album a listen.
Symphonic black metal is something I usually do not have any problems with. It’s a humble genre that attempts to extract the raw, adulterated nature of black metal with extensive use of keyboards and orchestration. However, some bands (like this one) tend to go overboard in one department while at the same time completely obliterate any chances of enjoying the other – they fail in both symphonic and black genres.
With Limbonic Art, they somehow keep their evil attitude by blasting a wall of distortion at the listener throughout the entire album. It’s not even a noticeable occurrence - they literally shower everything with a huge wall of distortion that pierces the ears and drowns every other instrument. Bass is quite unheard of, though I doubt any bass would even have an existing role in music like this. I never once am able to pick up one line, and my attention is constantly fighting against the mountain of fuzz in order to absorb anything related to it from this mess. The playing itself is sloppy: fast, but unfocused and all over the place. It doesn’t feel rushed, but it doesn’t sound timely, either.
For black metal, it’s quite an undertaking trying to examine any riffs. I’m not trying to make a big deal out of the production, but it’s so biased toward the distortion that it makes the whole experience very bitter. The music is always loud and the keys are the forefront, attempting to salvage intricate melodies and seductive advances on the listener, but their jest is in vain. The keys themselves sound gimmicky and very fake, thus killing any sort of positive feelings I would have in their honor. Drumming consists of mechanical blasting and bombardment from a drum machine that shouldn’t have been used in the first place. It sounds way too phony and processed, not going with the music at all (and a poor job at that). Double bass is chaotic but unfocused as it constantly dribbles like triggered bursts of a machinegun.
Vocals for Limbonic Art remind me of Summoning: harsh, tortured screams that are loud and ecstatic. They nailed it there, but you won’t get to hear it that often and their inclusion isn’t the ray of hope you’d expect. Cleans are included here and there, but they sound extremely deep and overacted. That’s also another problem overwhelming the vocals; the fact that these songs are padded beyond belief. It’s acceptable to have a few songs / short songs that contain these element of constant blasting, a wall of distortion, overabundant keys, and the like. However, when you pad songs that exceed lengths of seven minutes with these ingredients, then the whole album becomes torture or a test of patience.
The songs all sound the same, they’re too strung out, the journey is uneventful, the atmosphere is difficult to bear, and the constant buzzing doesn’t help this one attain a rightful place in the genre. If you love black metal with keys then go for something like early Blut Aus Nord, because this band butchers any hope of making something worthwhile for an entire album.
I had seen this praised as a sort of Black Metal masterpiece in other places, and it sounded interesting enough to warrant an order. This was Limbonic Art's debut, back in the heyday of Black Metal in the mid-90's. But contrary to what you may hear, this is not really a BM album at all.
Yes, the two guys who made up this band (who broke up recently) wear facepaint and studded leather and carry around swords, and yes, the vocals are harsh rasps. But really this is keyboard driven orchestral music that has much more to do with Gothic than Black Metal. I can see that there is a BM basis for it all, but it has mutated far beyond the bounds of what I will take as BM. This is more melodic and orchestral than even Dimmu Borgir, and the guitars are muted far more in the mix, so that they serve as almost a background instrument. The lead instrument here is the keys, no question, and they do provide a rather cool atmospheric layer with a lot of cold atmosphere. This is an enjoyable album for background music, or as a soundtrack to playing videogames or getting head from a cooperative girlfriend. But it certainly is not what I would call Black Metal, no matter how many swords the band waves around next to the fire.
So this is a cool CD, with some very cool cover art and good lyrics. If you like Gothy Black Metal-esque stuff but can't stand Cradle of Filth then this might be a CD to check out. And if you don't like BM in general, you might like this, as most of the traditional elements of Black Metal are pretty muted here. Still, a cool CD, just not a classic for the ages.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
Before I got this album, I listened to Limbonic Art's In Abhorrence Dementia which I thought was pretty good. I heard Moon in the Scorpio was better but picked the former over the latter because it was longer (I like long albums). Anyway, I decided I would check out Moon in the Scorpio after all, it is about 66 minutes with the bonus track. This album is my favourite. The album really has two parts to it, the metal part and the symphonic part. Both are mixed perfectly together. The metal part of this album isn't really dominate, but it's there nonetheless. I heard this album was amazing, but not even I could have expected how great it would be...
When I first put this album on, I was completely blown away, something which has not happened to me in a long time, if ever. Everything about this album is so perfect. I am a big fan of classical music when it is done in key minor. Obviously this is done by a synthesiser but its done masterfully well. The classical elements here are far superior to their following album. The keyboards are also outstanding, take the track Moon in the Scorpio for instance.
The guitars tunes on this album are sinister. They are dark and evil sounding and mixed with the synths it really creates a brooding, dark atmosphere. The synths in this album are more dominant but this doesn't really become a problem because you can still hear the guitars perfectly. There is only one guitar solo on this album but it's excellent.
The vocals on this album are decent but they certainly suit the music very well which is a definite plus. The vocals on this album sound mournful than angry and hate filled like what you will find on Satanic black metal albums. There also clean vocals on this album which again are decent. Now, I'm not a big fan of female vocals, in fact, I'd rather do without them on most albums, but here they are definitely a good thing. Anna is a very good vocalist and even when she's just talking, she sounds damn good. At the end of Darkzone Martyrium, I prefer just to lister to her than her male counterpart and she sounds so much better than him.
I think special mention must go out to the lyrics which are extremely well written. They also happen to be based on one my favourite topics: death. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that you will die. They are sometimes very nice to read just on their own. Sometimes they often deal with space and stars, another topic I like.
I think the artwork like the lyrics also deserves a special mention. In my opinion, this album has the best artwork out of all the Limbonic Art albums. Especially on the front cover. The front conveys a message to me of madness, death and evil, as there is a ghoulish figure standing in front of the moon.
Forget my previous reviews in which I gave albums 100%. This albums is truly in it's league of it's own. The only reason it gets 100 is because I cannot go any higher. This album truly is at the peak of its genre, if not the entire metal genre. Hands down, this is the best album I've ever heard in my entire life. It is a bit insulting how some will describe Cradle of Filth's Dusk and Her Embrace as one of the best symphonic black metal albums ever, when you cannot even compare the two albums. It's a cliché but this album is better than sex (as you wont have any nasty surprises after listening to this). This album will have you head banging all the way through, but at the same time have you in awe of its beauty.
Conclusion: The above is strongly recommended for purchase.
This is Captivating music, existing only to slaughter souls as they wander the bleak void of space. Only a handful of bands can achieve an atmosphere that will send you hurdling past the stars and planets into black oblivion. Limbonic Art is one of these bands. Combining the celestial keyboard genius of morfeus, with the dark and emotional vocals of Daemon, Limbonic Art took its true form on some unknown cold night in 1994. After a few demos/rehearsals, the band took to the studio (on a very low budget) to record their first and best masterpiece, Moon in the Scorpio.
Track 1 - Beneath the Burial Surface
Dark ambient pads ring out. Then a low boom of timpani pounds, as a wall of low strings hums in with one amazing melody of darkness that I cannot put into words. In a sentence - One of the darkest and most compelling symphonic intros ever composed. This is a PERFECT way to start off an album. After about 2 minutes the roar of Limbonic Art takes full force as the song starts. The drum samples are amazing, huge kick drums echo out like giant bombs. The guitar and keyboards blend in flawlessly. After about a minute and half of build up, then Daemon finally makes his first appearance, and oh what a way to appear. I still get goose bumps when this part comes. The vocals echo over the music with clarity and prominence. Aside from generic black metal vocals, Daemon actually sings out keys on some parts of the music, as the song changes key, there is slight tonal change in the voice of Daemon. I think this, though may be a small detail, makes all the difference with these brilliant vocals. This song is a great way to kick off the album. The riffs are so well composed and at about 8:40, you heard the dissonant guitars ring out in the distance. It is a very melodic and appropriate riff for this song. At about 12 minutes the song starts to wrap up and sets up for the next song, the title track.
Track 2 - Moon in the Scorpio
The same ambient pad kicks this song off followed by bells. Daemons’ vocals take another unique (A sickening guttural display of black metal vocals) turn as they kick off the title song. Sinister laughs echo as the song starts off. Great riffs progress along with the song. There are not too many notable moments in this song. It is great for a title track.
Track 3 - Through Gleams of Death
This is one of the best songs on the album. Starting off with a very archaic acoustic guitar melody, followed by accents of pizzicato strings, and then bursts in with timpani and the vocals of daemon. Then with the same intro melody and the timpani, Daemon duels it out with clean vocals. The lyrics are heard very clearly, which makes this intro even better. Without warning the song breaks in with full force at about 1 minute. The Opera vocals are carried out as well throughout the song, and at about 3:30 the song breaks back into the beginning part but this time with more force and power, it is one of the best moments in the song. Immediately following this the song breaks into an interlude and starts to progress to one of the best endings for a song I’ve ever heard. After going through one last verse, then the song plows into a break down at 6:40 and then into a very epic ending that I cannot put into words. The melody and layering are brilliant and moving.
Track 4 - In Morning Mystique
Another great introduction to a grandiose overture of peril. Morgana is now making her vocal appearance, along with the clean vocals and the technical marvel of Morfeus on keyboards, a very appropriate intro. The main song kicks in with an atmosphere that could be described as a look into the death of a star, or a spectacular supernova lighting up the sky as the gas from a star expands outward into space with violent force. This is the longest song on the album.
Track 5 - Beyond the Candles Burning
Crows echo in the distance as a storm approaches in the night, the soothing pads still comfort you as the night sky drifts away. Another excellent instrumental introduction by the great Morfeus now begins. With more of a Emperor type feel this time, this introduction suggest something imperial in nature. Without warning and with pounding force, the song then begins. Morfeus then does a short fill on piano that sounds like something Profanum would do. But it is very well executed. At about 5:10 the imperial symphony returns almost with the guitars and then the song starts to come to a close. And suddenly without warning abruptly the song ends and the same dark ambient pads starts as the next song begins.
Track 6 - Darkzone Martyrium
This would be the last official song on the album, unless you have the remastered boxset, which includes Dark Rivers of the Heart as the last song. Darkzone is not a dissapointing ending to this album at all. At 2:41 there is a very brilliant celestial melody that still tot his day sends chills down my spine when I hear it. It’s nature is beyond words, but it sends images of a billion stars surrounding me as I look deep into he vastness of space. It is nothing short of magical. At 4:50, the song then ends, and so begins the ending to this album. Aural pads take over which fill you with sadness and emotion as morgana gently sets you down after a 60 minute staggering journey into the world of Limbonic Art.
For those of you who have the boxset, then this is not the end! You are presented with one more great song to enjoy. I will let you buy it and find out for yourselves. The lyrics are also for you to explore on your own and bring out any meaning in them. This is definatly one of the best artistic expression in the dark / black / symphonic metal world. It is on a pedastal of it’s own. This is music that I will remember until my last breath.
This album is one of the reasons why I'm proud to be a fan of black metal. I'm going to try my best to explain how masterful and amazing this album is with words, since I don't think any words can describe how great it is. The atmosphere and feeling of Moon in the Scorpio is overwhelming. Chills run through my entire body during certain parts of the album. The guitars, drums, vocals, and keyboards are all balanced out perfectly, which is why the atmosphere hits you like a ton of bricks while you're listening. Some parts of the album make you feel like you're floating in the vast abyss of space, looking at landscapes of snow and mountains, or just looking into the sky with a million stars. I don't know, there a million different feelings...
The first sound you hear is a eerie, spacey kind of noise...this sound appears between each track, which makes the album feel like an hour long song. After hearing this sound for a little bit, you hear the first symphonic opening of "Beneath the Burial Surface". After the magnificent symhphonic intro, all the instruments attack in full force with another great symphonic keyboard part playing over them. Daemons vocals sound perfect for the music, especially with the reverb and everything. I can easily say Daemon is one of my favorite black metal vocalists. Later in the song, at around 8:14, you hear one of the most beautiful and incredible parts of the whole album. Beautiful piano parts, amazing symphonic keyboards, and a great lead guitar part. All of these put together really work well and make one of most amazing and atmospheric songs I've ever heard. The title track "Moon in the Scorpio" is another great song that starts out with just Daemon talking with bells in the background. It sounds real awesome. Then Daemon gives a loud shriek and everything comes in at a mid-tempo pace. Some more great keyboards and guitars in this song as well. "Through Gleams of Death" opens with a very relaxing and tranquil acoustic guitar part. Alright, and now for the song that I consider the best on the whole album and personally my favorite Limbonic Art song, "In Mourning Mystique". This is an epic song that is about 16 minutes long. The song starts out with some more speaking parts followed by another great symphonic intro. Everything kicks in at fast pace followed by a slow break with a beautiful keyboard part. And then, probably my favorite part of the whole album come on. Fast drums and guitar, awesome keyboards, thunder clashes and the ringing of bells just make this part of the song fucking awesome. The songs end with a very slow orchestra part..."Human dreams are such fertile ground for sowing the seeds of torment." The next song "Beyond the Candles Burning" also has one of the best symphonic parts on the whole album. At first you hear Crows and birds squaking and the other effects, you hear an amazing orchestral and symphonic march. This is definitly a big standout of Moon in the Scorpio. "Darkzone Martyrium" is a great song to close the album. More of the great elements that are shown in the other song, and then a big orchestra hit followed by some chanting, laughs and some more eerie sounds, and then the album is over.
If I could, I would give this album more than 100%, because it's that fucking good. The two previous reviewers didn't give this album 100% for nothing. Every black metal fan should check this album out. You won't regret it for a second!
Few bands, if any, can be proud of having unleashed such a shattering debut as Limbonic Art did with "Moon Is The Scorpio". This unbelievable masterpiece does nto only contain all those elements that over the years have becom Limbonic Art's trademark, but presents them is such a competent and effective way that one could hardly believe this is the band's very first album if he / she didn't know it. Back in the time where the more melodic branch of Black Metal was about to become more sterile and overcrowded, Daemon and Morfeus pushed the limits of this form of art way further than their contemporaries and created quite an unique genre on their own.
The first thing you notice when comparing Limonic Art to other symphonic Black Metal acts is that their keyboard parts are a lot more intricate and overpowering, yet the overall atmosphere is as far from catchy and inviting as it can get. There is a coldness, an omnipresent darkness which permeates every note of this album that can't be precisely described through words, you have to experience it. The fact that the band uses a drum machine instead of real drums (to a great effect, actually) and Daemon's unique vocal approach certainly do contribute to this atmosphere. But it's the strength of the songs that makes "Moon In The Scorpio" the milestone it is.
At the very beginning of the album we are greeted by a weird echoy noise which returns in the silence between each song on the cd, before the grandiose keyboard overture to the first song, "Beneath the Burial Surface", kicks in. We have 2 minutes of fantastic keyboard orchestrations and then... WHAM!! A furious riff (still backed with deep keyboards) kicks in, and the epic begins. By the time Daemon's ice-cold yet very intelligible screams kick in, you know you're in for something grandiose. And such expectations aren't failed as the first song develops further and further, including slower passages and whispered vocals in its huge picture before ending beyond the 13 minute mark. A perfect start for such a magnificent opus.
Next comes the title track, opening with some bells and a very particular vocal part from Daemon, which uses a kind of semi-clean voice paired with a more clear, almost operatic one; meanwhile, the poowerful drums fade in and the song begins with a killer groove with lasts for about 2 minutes, when the rhythm changes into a blasting maelstrom featuring some very cleverly arranged riffs... proably among the catchiest (I am well aware of how out of place this word sounds here, sorry) the band has ever written; near the end the more plodding rhythm sets in again and clears the way for a fantastic piano section, joined by a guitar lead before the song finishes.
The beginning of track 3, "Through Gleams of Death", brings the pace down a bit and unveils the album's more operatic side, courtesy of Daemon and guest female vocalist Morgana; the alternation between operatic vocals and echoing screams creates a great effect and constructs the perfect introduction for when the other instruments kick in. The song generally follows a more quiet pace compared to the first two (but has its fair share of blast beats anyway), and is full of very memorable riffs (check out the fantastic build up that eventually leads back to the opening opera / scream section). The song has a "false ending" followed by an extremely creepy part which reminds a bit of the intro / outro on Darkthrone's "A Blaze In The Nothern Sky", a very basic keyboard line with some percussion sounds and Daemon's nocturnal chantings.
"In Mourning Mystique", the longest song on the album (more than 14 minutes!), has one of the most grandiose openings I have ever heard. First a wide synth string movement coupled with clean vocals (again, Daemon and Morgana together), then an insane piano line sets in and the pace goes up, backed by a fantastic orchestration, completed with timpani and bells, and even more fantastic, firstly almost insane and then wonderfully emotional opera-styled vocals, before exploding into yet another blastfeast spiced by one of the best keyboard parts in the whole album. If any piece of music deserves to be labelled "metal opera", it has to be the first part of "In Mourning Mystique". The song then evolves into a bleak and cold soundscape, with few and far inbetween vocal parts, but you don't really notice the length as more and more superb riffs and orchestrations keep coming your way. Towards the end, a very slow and menacing riff sets in, to which Daemon adds his now well knows tortured screams for a guaranteed chilling effect.
It's almost frightening to think how Limbonic Art might have sounded if they could have got the chance of recording with a real orchestra. But then, "Beyond the Candles Burning" begins with a great melody provided by airy synth choirs (as well as thunder and cawing ravens samples), and you realize that it is this combination of realistic and overtly synthetic sounds (as well as the use of programmed drums instead of real ones) that makes their sound so unique. Like dreams and visions, Limbonic Art may feel close to reality yet are never the same; and indeed, while playing "Moon In The Scorpio" I do feel warped into a weird unearthly.
The intro gives way to a great march-like orchestrated section, definitely one of the most intense and moving moments the genre has to offer; then drums and guitars crash in, paired with yet more fantastic piano melodies (don't miss the incredibly fast breaks when the drums stop!) and Daemon's hysterical screams. After the mandatory blasting section, the orchestral march part sets in again, followed yet again by the piano-driven riff before the abrupt ending, making this song (shorter than the preceding ones) more concise and in a way more accessible.
The album closes with "Darkzone Matyrium", the shortest song of the lot. It begins with a very dark piano intro which unfortunately guests the stupidest lyric line of the whole cd ("dominus sathanas, dominus spiritus sathanas"), which is a REAL pity since the lyrical standard of "Moon In The Scorpio" (and Limbonic Art in general) stands way above such dumb stereotypes. Luckily, the rest of the song has much better moments to offer, with one more dual clean vocal part and even an "aaah"choir following one of the most melodic riffs of the whole album. This song is probably the calmest in terms of tempo and riffing, and gives more room to deep orchestrations and soaring piano lines, before ending with long synth notes paired with eerie spoken words and insane laughter.
This is not an easy album to listen to, understood. Also, the production isn't really the best ever, as the sound tends to be quite blurry and the guitars in particular get washed away by the flodwaves of synths and drums (the fact that the band doesn't use a real bass doesn't make the sound more cohesive either), but in a way it fits the unreal atmosphere the album creates. You just have to give it more than a single try; once you are sucked in, it's way hard to get out. Personally, whenever I slip this cd in I find myself listening to it once a day for at least one week... you have been warned.
Moon in the Scorpio was Limbonic Arts first album and IMO , although I love all of their Albums , also the best one .
For those of you who have never heard any songs from this album or LA in general , their music on this release could be described as symphonic yet cold and raw black metal .And that's what makes it so special to me . LA manage to on one hand exceed the limits of Black Metal by adding symphonic keyboards (and even some operatic vocals) and on the other hand keep the raw spirit of norwegian BM in it .
The Album begins with a disturbing spacey noise which will appear again between the songs and which kind of links the songs to a big symphony of darkness . Then the first song (an almost 14 min. epic) begins with a great symphonic intro , which like most of the intros on this album builds up more and more until the (computer-) drums and guitars kick in .
Up next is the Title song which features a nice intro of bells and great vocals by Daemon . His Vocal Style is (by Black Metal measures) quite unique and varied but in this intro he reminds me a bit of Attila (who would later appear as a guest on their latest and last release) . The Melodies in this song are among the "catchiest" (if you can call it that) ever in a BM song . They kept haunting me for weeks when i bought the album . They are even more unique than the vocals and when you hear a LA song you could tell after a couple of seconds that it could be no other band than LA .
Another Song that needs to be particularly mentioned is Beyond the candles burning because it has one of the best symphonic intros ever and is overall an almost perfect Melodic BM song with great lyrics .
This leads me to another big "plus" of this album (and all other LA releases) . The Lyrics are different from most other BM lyrics too (except the intro of Darkzone Martyrium which could hardly be more BM clichee than it is) . The language that Daemon uses creates a very mystic atmosphere and he manages to handle topics like death with intelligence and without letting them become boring after 2 lines .
The only thing one could complain about on this album is the guitar sound . Sometimes the guitars are just not loud enough . However , you do hear what the guitar plays so got used to it .And since this deficit puts more attention on the great vocals and keyboards it's no problem at all .
This album is a perfect album to start with Limbonic Art and I recommend it to everyone who likes Emperor (though it doesn't really sound like Emperor)
, old Dimmu Borgir (until Enthrone Darkness Triumphant) , old Satyricon , old Arcturus or even new Borknagar and to everyone else who doesn't mind hearing keyboards in Black Metal .
Best Songs : Moon In The Scorpio , In Mourning Mystique , Beyond The Candles Burning