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One of a number of projects past and present by Swedish musician Nachtzeit, Lustre is a solo project combining black metal and dark electronic ambient elements into a style of blackened dark ambient music with nature, solitude and darkness as related and interlocking themes, and the moods, feelings and other mental and psychological associations they might evoke. "Welcome Winter" is an early EP release in Lustre's discography: split into two parts, the recording celebrates the arrival of the coldest and darkest season of the year, anticipating the season's function with its cold winds and heavy snowfalls as a purgative to sweep away past sorrows and burdens.
The guitar sound is good: it's deep and growling with a continuous buzzy sound. The vocals are malevolently reptilian and slurpy, maybe a little too much so, but they don't detract from the guitars. The main problem I have with the music is the sheer repetition and blank tonal nature of the keyboards: they don't seem too bad at first and they're cold enough but after several minutes of hearing the same old po-faced plink-plonk over and over, I'm almost ready to throw the headphones into the nearest brick wall. The keyboard tones have a blunt kitschy ho-ho-merry-Christmas sound in spite of Nachtzeit's best vocal efforts at reminding listeners there is a hidden demon and he allows the synth music to continue on and dominate the music for too long. The later instrumental sections of Part 1 of the EP simply trundle on and on with idiot baby tones over a rising and falling bass line; some buzzing noise guitar clouds in the background and the odd scream of joy at the arrival of winter blizzards are called for here.
Part 2 unfortunately carries on in a similar vein with black metal buzz ambience playing second fiddle to one-finger synth melody loops. The tones are not so much cold as blank and blunt, and really out of place on what should be sinister atmospheric black metal soundscapes. Hilariously at the halfway mark the synth music changes but it becomes warmer and more like an annoying lullaby. The percussion is stolid plodding and the guitars have their work cut out supplying the necessary rough edges and darkness to proceedings.
When all is said and done, I'm left with an impression of sketchy postcard music that failed to convey the power, the majestic darkness and the forbidding cold beauty of a Nordic winter. We all carry in our heads a popular stereotype of what winter might be like in Scandinavia and what Lustre needed to do was to add more that would have revealed a deeply felt personal acquaintance of what Scandinavian winters can be like. Why should we welcome winter when the music here does not do much justice to it?
This ep by the ambient black metal band Lustre is a very, very, very cold piece of music. You can clearly feel the coldness that comes from your speakers as you press play. The fascinating thing about this coldness is that it provides a great sense of joy, wonder, awe, and ironically, warmth to oneself.
The album is split into two songs, each simply named part I or part II. I honestly do not like it when bands name their songs this, especially when the band has more than one album and some of the other albums use the same numbered titles. It can get confusing if you want to remember a certain song.
Anyway, the first track starts off immediately with a prominent, very spacey-sounding keyboard that sounds as if it is bouncing between the constellations (if that makes any sense). This music really is amazing to listen to when looking at the stars at night. It creates a sense of wonder and awe for the heavens above. This song also has some very simple guitar chords that are very muddy and heavily distorted that are off in the distance and just add ”heaviness" to the music, helping keep the keys bouncing along at the right pace. The vocals are heavily-distorted, totally incomprehensible shrieks that some listeners might find annoying, but one must realize that this is not about the vocals as it is definitely more about the instrumentation itself. The drumming leaves a little to be desired. It is a very fake, tinny-sounding, programed drum machine. The symbols especially sound awful and they really don't even sound like anything from a drum kit, to be honest. Once again, I must stress though that the keyboards and the guitars together are what matter the most in terms of the songs created by Lustre.
The second song is similar to the first with just a different variation in the chords and the keyboards. It is faster than the first and might invoke more of a sense of "flying through space". I prefer the second song to the first.
Overall, this album is excellent to listen to at night. To be honest, it really only should be listened to at night. Winter is an excellent time to listen to this and experience the coldness of the album, but do not discount the profound effect this music can have on you when you are lying on a dock in the Boreal forest looking out into the heavens and watching the shooting starts stream across the sky, and do not be surprised if you feel a tear run down your face as you experience the beauty of your surroundings.
"Music just makes things so much....More"--- Jeff Sauer