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Lux Incerta – Dark Odyssey Award winner

Lux Incerta
Dark Odyssey
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 19 May 2022, 10:14 AM

LUX INCERTA is a Gothic doom metal band from France.  They formed in 200 and “Dark Odyssey” is their second full length album.  Since 2001, they have also released four demo albums. This my first experience with the band but this first impression is, well, impressive.  “Dark Odyssey,” is indeed quite the journey with engaging songs and exceptional song writing craft.  I’m going to gush about this album because it so richly deserves it but before I do so, I want to go ahead and talk about the one fault it has: the track placement.

The album is comprised of seven tracks; five are longer songs with vocals and two others are full length, though shorter, instrumentals, “Shervine,” and “The Ritual.”  Both of these songs sound great and “Shervine” is perfectly placed on the album.  As good as the “The Ritual” is, the song doesn’t really seem like the right one to end the album.  The epic, “Far Beyond The Black Skies,” would have worked better as the final showcase for what the band can do and what the album is all about. Of course, I am just one humble reviewer so obviously song placement (and anything else I say) is purely subjective but I have reviewed hundreds and hundreds of albums so I can be very nit picky about flow and track listings.

With all that being said, there is nothing else wrong with “Dark Odyssey.” First of all, the album sounds like a dream—well, in this case a dark dream of doom.  But the sound, the production and mixing, is spot on.  Every thing is perfectly balanced: it isn’t too loud or soft in the volume area, each instrument shines without being overbearing.  No doubt, this is one of the best sounding albums I’ve heard this year in doom. The overall sound of the album is somber, melancholic, and with this being doom, slow and slumbering although there are faster parts here and there. The songs handle the speed, or lack therefore of, very well because they take their time building up to the destination but without meandering off the path and becoming distracting.  If anything, the songs are ultra focused, full embracing their style and harnessing that with a deft touch.

They handle their Gothic side as well, meaning they can and do create meaningful, emotional melodic passages by weaving them into the very fabric of the songs.  I might have a problem with the way the track list is set but the songs themselves flow so well.  It isn’t so much the detestation that always matters but the journey—-the band really grasps this concept. “Far Beyond The Black Skies,” opens the album—this song is a monster!  The first seconds are the sound of a storm accompanied by  clean keys.  It is a beautiful sort of darkness and it only grows as the music gets more and more layers.  The band comes in through waves—bass, then drums join the keyboards. Clean guitar around the three minute mark brings the whole band in together and they ride it until the 3:31 mark where the doom distortion kicks in.  The roots of the song maintain their grip and before you know it, a full fledged Gothic doom epic is at hand. The lead guitar weaves through this stormy fog, presenting its own stark beauty in the form of wonderful leads that just pop out and grasp the mind. Deep spoken word cleans make an appearance around the six minute mark and death growls quickly join in.  Both vocal styles are of high quality and equally adept at fitting the ins and outs of the song. Just after the halfway mark, the band lays down some pain with all the sadness for a crunchy romp through metallic fields.

Dying Sun,” begins with ambient ones and a slightly speedier tempo, complete with unrelenting drums and vicious growls.  The clean vocal passages are catchy and well placed, as are the drums that compliment them.  The later half of the sun features subtle keys and clean notes, adding in a dash of ambiance to the proceedings but with deep doom tones.  The song ends in a dirge of thick guitars and growls, capping it all off nicely. “Decay and Agony,” features layered guitars weaving in equal parts heavy riffs and bits of melody here and there.  This song sounds very cold and bittersweet but it is also moving and emotionally charged, especially those growls. The middle part is one of the faster moments on the whole album and has a melodic death feel to it.  After this bruising movement, a lighter one compliments it with clean guitar and more spoken word vocals.  MY DYING BRIDE comes to mind here!  Choppy riffs cut through the gloom towards the song’s end with the clean croons gliding on top.

As “Farewell’s” title might suggest, this song is about as happy as three funerals in a day.  But the song is just as effective and engaging as anything else on the album.  The rhythm of the clean vocals is catchy and moves the song from one moment to the next.   After the halfway mark, the song brings in the fastest speeds on the album but they still retain that melodic touch. I’ve already mentioned the two instrumentals so I will skip to the song “Fallen,” which is one of my favorites on the album.  It is just really heavy and the guitar tone pares well with the cleans.  Other than the opening track, I feel this song really captures the overall style of the album.  It has a great balance between light and dark, both musically and vocally.

All in all, I am highly impressed with LUX INCERTA and their “Dark Odyssey.” Any fan of doom needs to jump on this ship and sail these dark waters—this is one journey well worth taking the time for.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Far Beyond the Black Skies
2. Dying Sun
3. Decay and Agony
4. Farewell
5. Shervine
6. Fallen
7. The Ritual
Lineup:
Arkham – Guitars
Agone – Vocals, Bass
Pheel Ti – Drums
Maxime Pascal – Bass
Tibo Pfeifer - Guitars
Record Label: Klonosphere Records
     


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