|Ambient, Atmospheric Black Metal
September 23rd, 2013
Release length: 38:44
For the most part, Wonders takes the Ambience route with a slightly raw production quality, finding the music thicker with some analog traits for good measure. This becomes immediately obvious on “Moonlit Meadow” with how low, and even muffled the guitars end up sounding. Like usual, the xylophone notes, which probably are just lead keyboard chords, really stick out thanks to their louder volume and how well they fit in with the atmosphere. The deeper ones, however, weave a far more haunting backdrop set to a winter setting. The drums are very faint, but the constant cymbals and crisp clicks of the bass kicks are still easy to pick up on, especially where they maintain the overall rhythm of the song in a manner that will find your head bobbing along, even when overpowered by the ghastly rasp of the vocals that seem at a distance, adding more chill to the air than what is already present. “Petrichor” is essentially the same thing, but doesn’t quite hit the same way. The drumming is a lower, and the environment is far more bleak, but the thinner approach that treads similar ground leaves the listener without complete closure, only a portion.
“A Summer Night” is the closest to the Atmospheric Black Metal mark Wonder gets, and the keyboards offer up a bit of a moving Viking Metal touch as well. The consistent mid-paced bass kicks and restrained cymbal crashes let the haunting keyboard notes set the stage of a snowcapped kingdom full of pride and glory. The additional whispered rasp of the vocals act more like an ambient background effect that a haunting cry of a ghastly being. The xylophone sounding notes kick back in about five minutes later, slowing the music down for about a minute before complimenting the upbeat music perfectly, making this one of the most impressive of the album, and perhaps even of Lustre‘s career thus far. Sadly, the drumming in the start of “Green Worlds” doesn’t quite work out. When you hear the cymbals, it’s obvious that they are pretty off with the rest of the instruments, eventually syncing back up with the beat a little less than half way through. Thankfully some additional leads from the keyboard kick in, giving it a bit of a gothic vibe that finds some light breaking through the ominous snow clouds to mask any remaining drum imperfections.
Lustre has only been around for seven years, but Wonder shows a great deal of maturity from this one man outfit. The audio quality is superb, the instruments are at just the right levels, there’s material catchy enough you’ll instinctively bob your head along to it, and the atmospheres are rich, as well as a bit varied. This album probably won’t win over too many new listeners, but given the response earlier recordings have gotten, it does stand a chance at converting some naysayers and picking up a couple new fans along the way. Wonder is a superbly crafted example of minimalism in Metal, and how the right Ambient piece can set a truly moving, relaxing mood, while still being frostbitten, ominous, and at times glorious in its serenity.
01. Moonlit Meadow – 10:02
02. Green Worlds – 9:28
03. A Summer Night – 9:10
04. Petrichor – 10:03
|Initial Pressing Score: 9/10