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Debut release for the one-man atmospheric black metal project Lustre, "Serenity" establishes the act's modus operandi of raw minimalist BM-guitar noise rhythm background wash bolstering repetitive pure-toned synthesiser melody loops and raspy vocals set back in the mix. It's a short modest recording running at just over 21 minutes with two songs of unequal length.
First track "The Light of Eternity" gets down to business straight away with the tremolo guitar rhythms set on permanent revving-up and two sets of cold space-ambient melodies that sound as if they're being played on marimbas or glockenspiels. One of these repeating melodies alternates with Lustre leader Nachtzeit's own singing which appears both angry and anguished. The shimmering guitars hold a lot of latent power in their restraint; you feel that any time soon they're going to explode into their full furious glory and soar off in all directions throughout the cosmos. If only those keyboard loops would get out of the way .... er, sadly, that's not to be as the guitars eventually bow out and the keyboards and pained vocals continue.
"Waves of the Worn" starts strongly and dramatically with brooding sweeps of warm synth wash that might evoke feelings of longing for wide swathes of boundless, silent plains under huge, cold, grey skies in far-northern lands where the sun shines but weakly for a few months each year. Nostalgia and melancholy are feelings that might be called upon. Not a bad piece if it were half the length it takes and had further development of the shifting drones. As it is, the whole thing sounds generic and manipulative. It's as if we're all supposed to know what this sort of music refers to and are expected to fall over in preordained raptures.
Not a very original start to a long career but other better known bands have started off with much, much worse and come good so Lustre shouldn't be written off yet. I would prefer less reliance on keyboards and more emphasis on the black metal elements. There's considerable potential for solid, powerful music that can be menacing, spiritual and beautiful.
The first song of this EP consists of a gentle, breezy sweep of guitars in the vein of early Lugubrum or Sacramentum, pinned down by a patterned sequence of Filosofem-esque keyboards and humanized by a weak, harshy and randomy wail. Lustre certainly succeeds in creating a good hypnotic effect to which mostly contribute the keyboards - they resemble a time-worn musical box.
The second song is weaker. It's made only from synth - synth pulses, the kind of sounds which are the soundtrack of the gradual revealment of a grand and breath-taking lost continent or new planet. These pulses are constantly repeated in order to create a simple, soothing and somewhat spiritual song that becomes nauseating after a while.
All in all this small album conjures a mysterious atmosphere and is a pleasant, apollinical, calm and pretty unique piece of music. A thank you to the special Ashen Light who made it known to me.