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Lemuria – The Hysterical Hunt Award winner

Lemuria
The Hysterical Hunt
by Erika Kuenstler at 21 January 2019, 3:04 PM

I always love albums that follow a theme, taking listeners on a musical and lyrical journey. And just one such concept album is “The Hysterical Hunt”, the third full-length Symphonic Black Metal album by Belgian LEMURIA. Spanning over an hour’s worth of playtime, this album takes us to 18th century France, where people are being terrorized by a fabled wolf-like creature.

An ominous intro starts off “Prologue (The Land Of The Beast)”, with horror-tainted crescendos marring the slow, drowsy yet haunting melody conjuring up images of a beleaguered village at uneasy rest. This is followed by fleeting parts which give the intro a portentous feeling of looming doom, of something lurking in the mists, whilst a little girl gives a dire warning of glowing eyes that appear when darkness falls. This alone is enough to get the hair on the back of your neck standing on end. “A Plague Upon The Land” suddenly bursts in, a frantic, nightmarish tempest of a song that engulfs you in its swirling horror-filled galloping tempo. Narrations by Belgian actor Herbert Flack give the song a macabre story-like feeling, whilst the music itself overwhelms you with its almost cinematic sound. You can’t help but picture the disturbing scenes conjured by LEMURIA’s music. The eponymous track “The Hysterical Hunt” starts with a young woman being run down by the lycanthropic monstrosity, leading to the wrath of the king. And just like that, the sound of the album changes completely and flawlessly, with shredding guitars and turbulent orchestrations, and guest vocalist Alexandra Kastrinakis lending her powerful voice to the fray. “Between Man And Wolf” on the other hand strikes the perfect meld between calm and lilting instrumental and vocal melodies, soaring guitar sections, and frantically galloping drums. “As Darkness Falls” gives a short instrumental interlude, before “Of Winter And Hell” picks up the story once more, cautioning us to run and hide before plunging into morass of Symphonic Black Metal. In contrast to this, “A Secret Life” sees the return of sweet female vocals accompanied by an uplifting melody, taking the pace down a notch. But just as this melody manages to lull us into a sense of security, “Deceptive Hibernation” comes storming in, with frenetic sections and an onslaught of drumming startling us from our reverie and returning us to the nightmare. “An Elusive Monster” starts off another interlude with a morose keening melody, accompanied by a more atmospheric and ephemeral feel. This gradually swells before launching us into “Endgame (The Impending Truth)”, a slowly spiralling song that sucks you into a quagmire of hopelessness before striking back with full force. In the penultimate spot, we have “Epilogue (Before The Dawn)”, a long and triumphant instrumental song, with some narration to wrap things up. Finally, we have the bonus track “A Dream That Never Came”, a softer song, done entirely with clean female vocals.

It has been a very long time since I have heard such a well-rounded album. True, there were some parts that did seem a bit drawn out, although these arguably also do help to build the suspense. And although the album seemed to get somewhat weaker as it progressed, this too does follow the story-line in a way. However, one thing is certain: LEMURIA are a phenomenal force to be reckoned with, and I for one will be keeping a close eye on their progress. Although labelled as Symphonic Black Metal, LEMURIA is so much more, incorporating a slew of influences and styles into their songs, weaving a complex yet captivating tapestry of sound."The Hysterical Hunt" is most certainly worth a listen!

Originality: 8
Song-writing: 9
Production: 9
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
01. Prologue (The Land Of The Beast)
02. A Plague Upon The Land
03. The Hysterical Hunt
04. Between Man And Wolf
05. As Darkness Falls
06. Of Winter And Hell
07. A Secret Life
08. Deceptive Hibernation
09. An Elusive Monster
10. Endgame (The Impending Truth)
11. Epilogue (Before The Dawn)
12. A Dream That Never Came (Bonus Track)
Lineup:
Daan Swinnen - Vocals
Gaël Sortino - Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Jeroen De Kooning - Rhythm Guitars
Bart De Prins - Bass
Vincent Pichal - Drums, Keyboards & Orchestrations
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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