Lunar Ark – Recurring Nightmare


Artist: Lunar Ark

Album: Recurring Nightmare

Label: Trepanation Recordings & Lunar Seas Records & Realm and Ritual

Release Date:10/09/2021

Country: United States

We look at Boston act Lunar Ark and their debut full-length release Recurring Nightmare, released two days ago on Trepanation Recordings, Lunar Seas Records and Realm and Ritual.

Lunar Ark present us with a dark, murky, caustic and atmosphere drenched blend of sludge, drone, black metal and post metal. The band construct extensive and gradually unfolding songs that span between 12 and 20 minutes in length. Each of these evolves in their own unique way as they progress and cover a sizeable sonic landscape on their journey. The vocals on the album are incredibly raw and biting and sit very much in the blackened sludge realm (think acts like Lord Mantis). As well as being a primary driving force on the album, they perfectly suit the bleak and depressive instrumentals. The majority of the guitar work is downtuned, heavy and fuzz laden however you will find crisper and lighter parts when the post-metal elements become more prevalent. The drums mirror the guitar in switching from pounding heaviness to lighter more atmospheric styles.

It’s not all heaviness instrumentally speaking though, there are plenty of parts where atmosphere takes the lead on this one. Some of that is thanks to the drone elements on the release, but some is due to the post-metal influences the band have employed.

While songs like the opener Torch and Spear launch straight into the sludge side of things, tracks such as Freedom Fever Dream are much more of a slow burn. This song opens with a heavy drone focus and employs numerous audio clips before any vocals kick in or the instrumentals pick up. For the first 9 minutes or so of this track you’ll find faded raw vocals over minimalistic yet heavy instrumentals. However, approaching ten minutes things completely shift gears. We move into post metal territory and unexpected clean vocals make an appearance. this doesn’t last long though and following the 11-minute mark things return to being raw and punishing.

Track 3 Guillotine follows the same structure as track 2 but runs for a whopping 19:29. The difference on this track is that the clean and harsh elements actually overlap throughout the track. When you look at the album as a whole, you’ll see that it’s a gradual progression that introduces more lighter and varied elements as it goes on. Heaviness isn’t sacrificed but rather diluted or broken up. Guillotine’s fusion of these elements makes it the most engaging track on the album, but without the build up to it from the first two tracks and the gradual inclusion of these elements it wouldn’t be nearly as impactful.

Overall, this is a truly solid offering from a band I hadn’t heard prior to this release. Personally, I loved the rawness of their sound, but what I loved even more was their introduction of other elements and their song and album progression. If you want caustic blackened sludge with a lighter, more atmospheric twist then don’t miss this one.

Listen to and order the album:

Trepanation Recordings Bandcamp

Lunar Seas Bandcamp

Realm and Ritual Bandcamp

Band Bandcamp

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