Lunaar has joined the ranks of the mysterious underground black metal arts. An entity hailing from New Castle, England, the faceless project’s date of birth is as unknown as anything else about it outside the label the project has signed with. Handled by Death Kvlt Productions, home to a small collective of unknown groups within the style including Blodpest and Ühtceare. They handled the debut two-song offering Among the Dead Stars as a digital only release until later in January of 2019 with a strictly limited to fifty hand-numbered copies on cassette. But is either version worth sinking the time and money into, or is it nothing but another over glorification of all things analog?
“Among the Dead Stars” slowly rings in with a heavy dose of feedback and distortion, playing up that gloomy tone with a subtle hint at a potential shift to shoegaze before diverting headfirst into classic second wave frostbitten black metal from the north. Legends like Immortal and Darkthrone can be felt in the cold, ominous faster riffs and drums backed by a raspy shouting lost on the winds, sometimes accompanied by a more helpless wailing akin to what one might expect from the depressive side of the style. Of course this isn’t all, as Lunaar is not afraid to slow things down to a crawl, offering up an occasional ritualism that has the potential of putting the listener into a trance for brief periods of time, returning to reality once more slamming into a blistering pace, as well as a slower build with folk undertones the second time around to wrap up the first half of this release.
While Lunaar shows a great deal of range on the title track, “Eons Past” really hammers home the hopeless doom metal melancholy. The permafrost seems handed in for a chilly campfire haziness in a wintry wooded setting, still touting a bit of a folk/pagan inspired tribalism as the song slowly plods along as if to its final resting place. It isn’t until just over three minutes in that the pace finally picks up, throwing back to the Nordic roots of the style complete with hints of early heavy metal inspired riffs and heavily echoed vocals. While not as impressive as the former, it still makes for a memorable send off, especially when listening to it through an analog format.
Among the Dead Stars stands as a mixture of melancholic atmosphere and doom-laden pacing that isn’t quite the biggest stand out for the genre, but it sure is one of the more impressive examples in recent years, especially for a two-song debut outing that clocks in at just under thirteen minutes. While not much is really known about Lunaar and who composes this beast, the music more than makes up for it by speaking volumes of the talent involved. Showing traces of a number of styles and eras, from the vintage days of metal to the blast-beat riddled examples of today, this first entry stands not just as something well worth checking out, but also as a glimmer of hope for a new mysterious underground act in the black metal community well worth keeping both eyes firmly fixated on.