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Absentia Lunae. - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, June 1st, 2008

A storm is brewing in the Italian scene. Perhaps most famous for their death metal scene, which is apparently strong, Italy is turning it’s hand at black metal and I, for one, am glad they are. Initially, I found Absentia Lunae through general scouting, as I normally do, but not only did my search lead me to this band but, on top of that, I found Climaxia’s solo project too, Melencolia Estatica. To judge the two would be silly because their sounds are completely different and I’m positive that was the intention. Both creations are divine creatures of the black metal style, but entirely different.

Climaxia is the lead guitarist for this band, Absentia Lunae, as well as having a commanding role in her own band. She’s becoming known within the scene for being a generally strong guitarist and rightfully so. Whilst black metal’s main techniques include repetition, Climaxia likes to mix things up a bit. Her style is confident and has a certain amount of flair to it, which is encouraging because black metal musicians need to show a bit more flair from time to time. Whilst there is, of course, a degree of repetition through the use of the tremolo picking style, Climaxia likes to twist and turn black metal on it’s head to create a more expressive style through a more expansive manner of playing.

All of the songs on the record showcase precisely what I mean by this, but take ‘Subliminal Aeternitate’ for example. It begins with that lush opening. A fusion of melody and rough edges, which doesn't mean to say the sound of this record is unprofessional because it isn't. The production will tell you that. It‘s clear and accessible. Whilst black metal should incorporate melody, it has to be done right. I don’t appreciate the over-the-top nature of most melodic black metal bands, but in terms of Absentia Lunae, Climaxia brings the right amount of melody and dishes it up with a slice of raw touches that will delight the sense of many fans of a slightly edgier black metal.

Whilst Climaxia’s inspiring performance at the head of the band might be one of the most noteworthy aspects about Absentia Lunae’s debut, ‘In Umbrarum Imperii Gloria’, one has to state that all the performances on the record are strong and controlled. Her soundscapes are fearless and explore several different realms of black metal, which allows the album to sound exciting and fresh throughout. The drummer especially stands out too. His use of double bass is controlled to a brilliant extent and his action packed style is unrelenting as those vicious punches on the percussion come thick and fast. Whilst the tempo is kept to a fast pace, there are occasions when Absentia Lunae slow the story down for the audience in order to fixate the melodies of each and every song on the audience.

The lush soundscapes are compelling to listen to because whilst they do offer a sense of beauty and glory, there is a sinister, more destructive nature laying deep beneath the distorted riffs and the harrowing vocals. Whilst the vocals may not be as important as the other elements, they are strong. Songs like ‘Memneso On’ are fine examples of how effectively this act can change the pace of the album without ever seeming like songs are out of place. The song writing is of a high standard, especially in terms of the bass and guitar work. Whilst the bass offers a far more emotive sound, the guitars prefer to play melodies that can be considered fairly catchy. A hit.