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Luup - Canticles of the Holy Scythe

Luup
Canticles of the Holy Scythe
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 December 2017, 7:15 AM

Loosely defined as Folk/Black Metal, LUUP is an international collective, with no geographical boundaries, conducted by Stelious Romaliadis. They have previously release two full-length albums, and an EP, and present now their third full-length titled “Canticles of the Holy Scythe,” which contains six new tracks. “Why are the Mountains Black” leads off the album with a bit of piano and harmonized vocal chants. Sometimes the melodies are bright while other times there is a dissonance and shadows that lurk over top. “9=2” opens with ominous cello notes. More so that many instruments, the cello can really relay despair and sadness, as well as a sinister quality. The whispered vocals speak of evil things. Darkness is sweeping across the land, as blood rituals are performed in the name of those you dare not speak of. There is a pervasive foreboding quality in this track as well…very black.

“The Greater Holy Assembly” hears the darkness continue. In an almost sacramental fashion, the vocals last out under a bed of strings like a hideous beast’s forked tongue. Continuing this song could result in the summoning of demons, so listeners beware. “Noctivagus (Apparation of Death” is a shorter song with some brass, reed instruments and strings. The chord progressions are fascinating…going places that I would not expect based on a previous note or melody line. In the end, it’s hard to figure out whether the message is hopeful or wretched, as it seems innocent…but why do they hairs rise on the back of your neck while you listen? “Stibium (Triumph of Death)” is another longer track brimming with all that is unholy. As the strings and vocals play, you descend deeper into the black pit of Hades that is your destiny. The voices are demonic for sure, and the staccato strikes bring fear full circle.

“Mors Consolatrix” closes the album. A little more light filters through the dirty windows into the dank hamlet. Delicate melodies slip into the space as well, helping to temper some of the outright darkness of previous tracks. Overall, this was quite an enjoyable and unique listening experience. Don’t look for this to be traditional Heavy Metal, but if you enjoy other genres of music I think you will at least appreciate the songwriting and musicianship in some very unconventional ways.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Why are the Mountains Black
2. 9=2
3. The Greater Holy Assembly
4. Noctivagus (Apparition of Death)
5. Stibium (Triumph of Death)
6. Mors Consolatrix
Lineup:
Sakis Tolis - Vocals
Bjørn “Aldrahn” Dencker - Vocals
Sofia Sarri - Vocals
Anna Linardou - Vocals
Xenia Rodotheatou - Vocals
Dimitris Kakavoulis - Piano
Sofia Efkleidou - Cello
Ourania Lampropoulou - Santouri
Yannis Iliakis - Percussion
Fotini Kallianou - Cello
Fotis Siotas - Viola
Marios Kapilidis - Bassoon
Myrsini Hatzikonstandi - Conductor
Antonis Manias - Viola
Panayotis-Daniel Arapoglou - Viola
Lina Triantafyllou - Cello
Konstantinos Sifakis - Double Bass
Stelios Romaliadis - Flute, Piano, Singing Bowls
Record Label: I, Voidhanger Records
     


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