Lunar Aurora - _Mond_
(Cold Dimensions, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
With their debut album dating back to 1996, Lunar Aurora are hardly newcomers to the scene. Yet for all the albums they have put out over the years, our paths did not intersect until the release of _Mond_; and a cliché it may be, but after hearing this album I am now quite interested in digging up their previous work.

_Mond_ doesn't resort to avantgarde leanings that throw you off, yet it is the kind of epic black metal that defies your expectations. Such an epithet might bring to mind the cheesier side of black(ish) metal, but Lunar Aurora steer well clear of any of that. They are a cold and aggressive black metal band, and just happen to have a solemnly epic side that complements a number of passages really well. Despite the quick pace, much of Lunar Aurora's sound has a depressive undercurrent, which is helped by the smart keyboard effects -- "Rastlos" is one such track, blasting ahead with a celestial majesty that brings to mind early Emperor. As the Emperor reference might indicate, the band are also able to conjure some stirring crescendos, keeping things interesting in spite of the considerable overall length. _Mond_ is neither underproduced nor particularly technical; it strikes a very good balance as far as clarity of sound and songwriting, and the result is heavy on atmosphere without having to resort to ambient passages.

Lunar Aurora have created a fine album, one that harvests much of what was so good about mid to late '90s black metal without sounding unoriginal or rehashed; indeed at times it refines some of those elements. This isn't to say that each and every passage in the album is brilliant, but there is some excellent material here and the standards are kept high throughout.


(article published 11/11/2005)

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