Just like painters create their stunning pieces, adding some extra hint of magic with each brush stroke and each layer of colour, musicians orient seemingly random sounds to make real masterpieces. And in this case, every single vibration, littlest note or even a sudden pause create a bewitching atmosphere. Call me naive, but when it comes to choosing an album to lose myself in, there are certain bands that I’d always go for first. And one of them is Lustre.
This one-man project from Sweden, Lustre, originated in 2008. Its mastermind hides behind a pseudonym of Nachtzeit. Since their debut EP Serenity he was always providing releases full of indescribable and melancholic magic, that attracted many spellbound fans longing for a pinch of this sorcery to be lost in. The wonderful combination of harsh black metal with synths created a sort of phenomenon continued and developed further on next releases. His unique style always brings keyboards and synths to the foreground and backs them with classical black metal arrangement. Being honest, I couldn’t be any happier to learn about a new Lustre release titled The Ashes of Light.
The album compromises six epic tracks with a beautiful and telling cover. Opening the record, Part 1 – Eyes Like Stars, literally hits listener with a cascade of high-pitched synths backed with slow, stolid drums and heavy with melancholic shrieks. Eyes Like Stars seems to fluctuate around its leading theme, deliberately evolving it, creating magical atmosphere with every single note. While listening to this one with your eyes closed, you can see a black sky full of shining stars. It is definitely one of the highlights of the album. The next track, Part 2 – A Silent Tale, starts with a vibrating synth, gently introducing next looped layers of sounds. Again, there’s no rush, no forced twists, it’s simply floating, weaving a lovely tale. Album single Part 3 – Like Music in the Night is the heaviest and most dynamic track of the whole album. It starts tenderly, quickly ascending to a wall of sound created with drums, backed with Nachtzeit’s shrieking vocals. Structured of three marked parts, it resembles at some point a classical ternary form, adapted to the composition’s needs. Like Music in the Night is one of my favourites, listened to many times in a row while writing my review. Don’t blame me, I couldn’t resist. Part 4 – Empty Black creates a lot of space to slowly guide the sounds forward. Keyboards and synths dominate over a barely heard flow of drums. This makes Empty Black the most charming track of the album. The titular Part 5 – The Ashes of Light, just like Like Music in the Night, has quite a heavy and dynamic vibe, thanks to more changes in the flow of sounds. Still, their evolution seems to float freely. Cold melody takes the listener to an enchanted, hidden heart of forest in the far north to contemplate its beauty. There, on sacred glade, you can see the first sign of dawn – titular ashes of light, spelling the end of this magical night. Indeed, Part 5 – The Ashes of Light is a penultimate track, leaving Part 6 – Lamentation at Dawn ending the record. This lovely track seems to whisper the upcoming morning. I had a feeling, that it has a bit dark air, yet remains absolutely enchanting record, slowly fading away, just like the night sky melts with first dawn lights.
Nachtzeit once again created an album full of bewitching music. This time, he takes a listener for a lovely journey to discover the secrets hidden in the darkness of the night. Each track represents different parts of it, conveying their essences, woven by floating sounds. Atmospheric aspect created with keyboards and synths seems to dominate, even more, than on previous Lustre’s records. At some point, I was missing something a bit heavier and harsh, but it wasn’t the idea of the album to be backed with more black metal. Adding too much of it would derange the perfectly crafted, subtle magic. It definitely is another great album and I’m sure, that I will be appreciated by those not typically fans of genre.
Highlights: Part 1 – Eyes Like Stars, Part 3 – Like Music in the Night