Saturday, September 17, 2011
Review: Luctus - Ad Arma
Unlike Taake, Luctus likes to keep the thrashier and more melodic elements separated on different tracks. True opener "Bloody Frontline" is straight out of the Niden Div. 187-meets-Slavic style mixed up with a rather Mediterranean sense of melody: lots of blast beats and speedy thrash rhythms bound together by a set of soaring, emotive, melodic tremolo riffs. On the other hand, "Song For the Enemy" brings oldschool Darkthrone to a head with a bit of modern Swedish flair in the riffing for something traditional and thrashy but malevolently scornful. It's really on the last pair of tracks (the longest on the EP) that the band truly finds its own sound.
On these tracks, Luctus embraces a sort of post-Hellenic style, like Macabre Omen with four times the speed and aggression. Patiently unfolding over the course of these long tracks come dynamic rhythmic breaks, tempo shifts, and key changes all designed to make the music that much more vast and narrative. "Children That Will Never More Wake Up" is the clearest gem on this disc, with its magnificently executed, incredibly mournful middle section where doom comes to Lithuania and Luctus releases all the pent-up energy of the previous tracks in a massive burst of emotional extremity. It's powerful stuff, and what the band might lack in immediately appreciable novelty they more than make up for in their sublime songwriting ability and incredibly gripping riffcraft.
This is perhaps simpler than anything else in this field of black metal, but it stands tall among bigger names like Taake and Hirilorn without trouble. This item may be obscure but it's absolutely worthwhile for the hardcore metal collector to track down; I've listened to this probably 30 times and it only gets better with age.
Buy this album on Amazon