Lunaris - _...the Infinite._
(Earache Records, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (7.5 out of 10)
A project mostly centred around members of Spiral Architect, Lunaris match a cold infusion of brutality with prog experimentation. Production wise, _...the Infinite_ feels a little disconnected, leaving the black metal stylings somewhat tempered. The drums feel especially lightweight, lacking guts and presence. Thankfully, Lunaris are not entirely crippled by an unimpressive sound as the slight ethereal edge sometimes benefits their performance. Individual musicians come to the attention of the listener as the tone of the record shifts to accommodate their efforts; this particularly works for bassist Maztema, who often comes to shine out of the slightly misty soundscape. It is the keyboards that essentially define a lot of this album's atmosphere. Lunaris incorporate some symphonic touches, occasionally sounding similar to Opeth. Their songs are basically centred around the layering of metallic melodies, yet there is much exploration of different styles. There are moments of full blown pomp and occasional passages of sound experimentation. The most striking example of innovation flying off at a tangent is the quirky prog metal of "Growth Denied" that reminds one heavily of Dream Theater as Lunaris perform complex tutti runs in awkward time signatures. In general, the music flows well, rarely stuttering as it shifts from one motif to another and the songs feel epic, although none of them exceed five minutes. Displaying musicianship and instinct, Lunaris craft an intelligent and swirlingly emotive work. The biggest problem with _...the Infinite_ is that it is hard to understand what Lunaris are trying to achieve. The broad range of styles present can often leave the listener somewhat bewildered as to where _...the Infinite_ is actually going. At its worst this feeling interrupts the music before one can become truly absorbed and, due to the soft production, Lunaris often lose the edge when they most need it. Although interesting and enjoyable, parts of _...the Infinite_ feel a little soulless and confused, despite the competent performance. Having said this, there is still enough on _...the Infinite_ to make it worthy of attention.


(article published 11/4/2003)

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