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Lurk - Aegis Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 March 2023, 9:04 AM

LURK is a death/doom/sludge metal band from Finland who formed in 2008. 'Aegis' is their fourth full length album. The band's overall sound is vicious. Slow to mid paced, the music contained with the album's seven songs and 43 minutes run time is more direct and immediate than doom bands tend to be.  The riffs are thick as hell, backed by an extremely tight rhythm section. There isn't any holding back here—every song goes in for the kill. I mean, from beginning to end, your ears will be bludgeoned by death doomed sludge.

Koskinen sounds amazing—deep lows, scorching highs…this guy is a fucking machine.  His guitars, along with Pulkkinen, have a tone that could cut a mountain in half. K. Nurmi’s bass brings the dirty, rotten sludge into the mix for a truly impenetrable sound.  E. Nurmi’s drums are well mixed with a clear, full sound that provides the solid foundation for this beastly album to stand upon. The album opens with ‘Ashland,’ and it takes about .1 seconds for it to already be hurtling forward.  The speed is doom/sludge but just the way it is unrelenting for every available second makes it as dangerous as even the most brutal of death metal. The drums alone are a power that cannot be denied—paired with the bass and what LURK has done with this album is provide one of the strongest rhythm sections I’ve heard this year. Around the 3:20 mark, the guitars break off to create a little psychedelic dissonance for a death trip.

Shepherd’s Ravine,” is one of my favorite songs on the album.  A brief clean intro starts it off before a muddy build up begins to flood.  The bass sends vibrations through the skeleton of the song until the flood gates finally burst open around the 1:27 mark. The vocals are so deadly that I almost expect to be throttled by their unseen force. Even when the music takes a step back into ‘lighter’ moments, the vocals don’t let anyone forget this album is an audible murder machine.  After the 3:48 mark, the song grows even more unrelenting. ‘Infidel’ is sick as hell—the vocals are insane the way they push through over the bass.  The atmosphere of this song is weird, insane, spacey….mind warping, to say the least. The synths are outstanding and work surprisingly well with the band’s brutal take on death doom.  Around the 2:03 mark, the distortion creeps in like a snake slithering upon an unsuspecting meal.   Honestly, this song DOES feel like it is devouring you whole, as if  you tried to escape the inescapable.

Hauta,’ including its clean instruments for the opening moments,  has a sickly feeling to it–I didn’t feel comfortable during much of this song.  This is, of course, a compliment because how powerful is this song to make me feel this way? I just love it, in the worst way.  The bass in the last few minutes of the song really drives it all home—it is melodic but that just means comfortable drowning you in psychosis. As the name might suggests, ’“Blood Surge,’ is intent on bloodletting, a sudden violent jump in murder tactics compared to the previous song.  After the four minute mark, the bass drums and riffs dig this dark hole deeper until the incoming burial feels like a salvation when compared to living through this bulldozer of a song.

Kehto,’ is an instrumental song that is a change of pace and a respite before the final assault that is ‘The Blooming.” For what it is, the instrumental song isn’t bad but unless I listen to the album straight through, I would probably skip it.   From the first seconds, it is ‘The Blooming’  is  death/doom dirge wrapped up in a sludgy sonic barrier.  The layered vocals make it even more effective but the slow crush and groove of the riffs, and the bass that isn’t content on just hiding behind them ensure this as the ultimate send off for the album. LURK’s ‘Aegis,’ is a stunning album that stands out among the already many albums under the doom umbrella that have been released this year.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Ashlands
2. Blood Surge
3. Hauta
4. Infidel
5. Kehto
6. Shepherd's Ravine
7. The Blooming
K. Nurmi - Drums, Guitars, Synths
A. Pulkkinen - Guitars
K. Koskinen - Vocals, Guitars
E. Nurmi - Bass
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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