Absentia Lunae - _Vorwärts - Impavida Avanzata_
(Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
Strange concepts and strange, Soviet / East German communist-styled, austere graphic design depicting militant / war-themed scenes. The visual art of _Vorwärts_ greets the listener with its cold and bleak embrace and serves as the perfect backdrop for the band's callous and dystopian music, where ultra violent black metal meets fascist martial industrial, and where epic clean singing clashes with abrasive, traditional black metal rasps.

_Vorwärts_ is an album that gives traditional black metal an anomalous interpretation, sounding like a militaristic manifesto dripping with refined hatred and pushed forward by some phenomenal throat performances, megaphone-aided citations, razor sharp and occasionally dissonant guitar lines, insane drum beats and a sonic portrayal of cold and ruthless hopelessness.

Absentia Lunea have created an album that is the soundtrack of the opposition; it's a vile and tumultuous creation against all fashions and the dolce vita trying to force-feed us mindlessly on every channel; a statement speaking on behalf of the estranged and the non-belonging, non-conforming humans who haven't found a resting place in a world of mindless technology and headless victims. _Vorwärts_ is the sound of oppression, the lullaby of slavery, the rhyme of the dichotomy and dissonance between our technological advancement and the rapid evolution and advent of our inhumanity.

We've been trying to crack the secret of this album for weeks now. It plays tricks on the mind, that fickle little album, in that is shows a most beautiful face an album could pull, and a heartbeat later it attacks your cerebrum with the most ugly, barren and violent music a human can possibly conceive.

Even without fully understanding the somewhat cryptic message behind the texts, you know it's bad news. The music gets immensely dark from the very first notes, and it doesn't get any brighter for the whole of the album's time span. _Vorwärts_ is so packed with ideas and clashing aesthetics, it is sometimes almost too hard to follow, as the better part of the music is so freaking fast, the musical ideas and scenery change so fast, you almost never know what hit you, or what's going to hit you next, and from which direction.

From the opener "Dissolution Mechanism" that exhibits strong martial / fascist inclination in the _Grand Declaration of War_ era Mayhem vein, to the lightning-fast, cold and somewhat traditional "Furor of the Monuments", to the avantgarde-ish, semi-operatic "Rapace Planare", which introduces an Arcturus / Ved Buens Ende-like clean singing (_La Masquerade Infernale_ era Garm style), the tracks keep surprising you, engineering as they do, a dystopian world of utter hopelessness and abandonment.

Clinically sharp, all-obliterating guitars and a wonderful drum player (the mighty Anamnesi, who else!?) who takes the craft of drumming to the very edge of human ability, plus the fucking gloom these brilliant compositions construct, a cathedral of blackness and refined negativity -- make up for one of the strongest releases in the history of metal, and that's not an exaggeration or mindless hyperbole.

If Lorn, Absentia Lunae's countrymates, play an astral form of black metal aimed for taking the listener on a journey into celestial dimensions -- then Absentia Lunae, with this album, drag the listener down into the pits of terrestrial hell, down to the very scorching core of the Earth. So much vitriol, so much hate, so much vehemence ooze from and explode out of this album; and like refined hatred, like the Earth's white-hot core, this album consumes you to -your- very core.

The closing track, "L'Arrivée", is one of the most brilliant martial industrial / neoclassical / orchestral pieces we've heard; a mesmerizing, bombastic track that serves as an adequate finale for this whole mighty album, a whisper in the dark leading the listeners to the ultimate pessimistic conclusion, a catharsis that is the culmination of the acute negativity the music has been displaying throughout the album. Its message is simple enough: the human race is hopeless. The funny thing is that no matter how horrifying the ideas this music stands for, they can't compete with what's really happening throughout the world; the atrocities, the habitual evil, the pain humans inflict upon other humans and upon any living creature out there. Eventually, this album is like an innocent child's game, compared with what's out there, in fucking reality.

Those who appreciate any of the aforementioned references and think they can handle pure sonic hatred that could tear one's soul apart -- take a walk through the endless corridors of this dystopian, monstrous aural construction and see what happens.

Contact: http://atmfsssdtp.bandcamp.com/album/vorwarts

(article published 2/5/2015)

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