Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Ars Magna Umbrae - Lunar Ascension

Invincible and immaculate, Ars Magna Umbrae is one of those I, Voidhanger signees who remind me exactly why I love the label so much. Rather than being on the absolutely cutting edge of what is sonically possible, Lunar Ascension the bands debut full length hints at grander and almost cinematic scopes. While avant garde elements are present this is not a record that alienates, but rather one that seems to take pleasure in horrifying. Grandiose and passionate, this is a bold take on a storied brand of metal.

Reminiscent of acts like Nightbringer, Blut Aus Nord or even Ruins Of Beverast, Lunar Ascension is a potent album, and one that makes it clear the band has not yet reached their full potential. While there are certainly chaotic elements and an excellent interplay between sounds, Lunar Ascension also sees the band pulsing towards ever bleaker pastures. With the acoustic frills counterbalancing moments of transcendent black metal, Ars Magna Umbrae feels more like a force of nature than something hateful. This is black metal that can feel even Lovecraftian at times given the sheer scope of the horror presented.

Suffice it to say, Ars Magna Umbrae are a thrilling listen and a band who seem to be on the verge of great things. They showcase a deep and passionate understanding of the genre and the way that the music ebbs and flows on Lunar Ascension makes for dark dreams. There are a lot of exciting twists and turns here, and I, Voidhanger have proven ocne again that they deserve a place as one of the great black metal labels of their age. This is the sort of pure and truly different black metal devotees can't help but to lap up.

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