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Lunaris are a prime example of one of those bands who get pushed by their label as being the next big thing in their selected genre and more often than not disappoints. Earache have labelled Lunaris as "bleeding death metal bite with black metal's raw edge, Lunaris develop their sound with technicality and proficiency. Cyclic heralds a new wave of fresh sounding Norwegian innovation". Allow me to say right here that this is far from what Lunaris sound like. This is a band who are incredibly technically proficient yet unfortunately Lunaris let technicality and proving their skills get in the way of the feeling behind the music making it sound very mechanical but devoid of any feeling at all. This was one album I could not connect with even in the slightest. Lunaris feel the need to show off their skills on the fretboard in the need to prove how experimental they are, and they must change every five seconds to prove how avant-garde and fresh they are yet nothing really seems to flow or have any sense of order.
'Cyclic' opens on a promising note, a brutal thrasher with elements of Satyricon fused with death metal and some keyboards used sparingly ala Emperor or Anorexia Nervosa. There is nothing which could possibly hint at the shocking followup 'I.A.D.'. What Lunaris were trying to do here is well beyond me. Imagine old-school black metal meets Dream Theater with clean vocals somewhat like that of Nevermore if Warrel Dane sung offkey. This is a prime example of a group of musos from Norway trying to break entirely free from the Norwegian Black Metal cliche, but have gone so far that the end result doesnt even resemble black metal. There are a large number of people who would never step foot into anything this far from the cliche and with bands like Lunaris it is easy to see why. There are some nice keyboard parts in other songs like 'Lessons In Futility' and 'Casualities Of Peace' and Lunaris definately have potential, if they stop trying to prove how different they are. There are no defining songs, the fast parts are bland and sound too similar to eachother and the slower bits seem out of place. The clean vocals are almost laughable.
There are too many directionless riffs on this album and the number of changes in each song alone leave everything not making much sense. Take the track 'Slaves Of Opinion' for example. Right in the middle out of nowhere they breakdown into a few seconds of jazz guitars. A lot Lunaris' quicker passages are rather bland to say the least. It may be furious but the riffs just lack something. This is one band who should use synths more as they dont sound that bad with the addition of keyboards. 'Cyclic' is a very unmemoriable album. It left me feeling uninspired, bored and trying to remember anything at all about what I just listened to, the music changed so frequently it left nothing to really grab hold of. Lunaris are NOT revolutionaries in the Norwegian Black Metal scene, as they arent really that black metal to begin with. Imagine a fusion of Emperor and Dream Theater. If you are a fan of prog then go here as you will find a lot of progressive structures on here, if you are looking for a standard black metal release than look further as you will not find it with 'Cyclic'. Very disappointing I must say. There is nothing more I really want to say about this bland, boring, uninspiring release. This is one to gather dust over the years.
I knew nothing about this band when I first got the CD. I assumed they´d be typical nowadays Norwegian Black Metal but I was so wrong and am completely hooked ! While the main focus is on newer Black Metal style with some atmosphere generated by well used keyboards there are also a lot of Progressive nuances and some Death Metal (think: CYNIC) here and there. 'I.A.D' which is my favourite song on the disc has clean vocals that almost sound a bit like John Arch (!) from early FATES WARNING. I know that sounds kind of odd considering the style of this band but it´s true ! Aside from the clean vocals the majority of the vocals are mostly a blackend death scowl that cuts like a knife. On top of the tight musicianship, excellent production the album also features some guest musicians like Steve Digiorgio, Eric Peterson, Asgeir Mickelon and others. This is not your typical Black Metal release and has certainly taken me by pleasant surprise but then again considering the strange acts that Elitist is always digging up it should come as no surprise. These guys are innovative, always pushing the bounderies but still remaining aggressive and HEAVY and need to be checked out right away ! In fact, I would not doubt that this release will end up on my top list at the end of 2004. A purely exciting and invigorating album that´s utterly BRILLIANT and varietized to the hilt ! Recommended songs: 'Slaves Of Opinion' (there´s a guitar melody in here that´ll get stuck in your head for days, totally amazing !), 'I.A.D.'. Basically I could just recommend every song because they´re all super !