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  • Review by Faye Coulman

REVIEWED: Night Shall Drape Us - 'Lunatic Choir'

Every now and then we’re gifted with that rare breed of artist possessed of a lure and magnetism so instantly compelling as to border on the almost uncanny. Indeed, with their grandiose, eerily enticing band name having instantly ensnared our collective attentions before we’d heard so much as a single note of intoxicating new opus ‘Lunatic Choir’, Night Shall Drape Us prove to be every inch the intensely visceral and haunting feast for the senses we’d been anticipating.

Crafted with audible and explicitly stated reverence to the now-iconic second wave players who proved so instrumental in spawning this most intensely cold and corrosive offshoot of extreme metal, there’s no disputing that these frostbitten Finns are about as quintessential a specimen of the genre as you could possibly imagine. Indeed, from airily lacerating strains of tremolo to blackly engulfing layer upon layer of weightily churning groove and staccato-laden hyperblasts, ‘Lunatic Choir’ is an offering liberally drenched in all the classic trappings for which black metal has long been fervently admired. Yet, with every track being richly possessed of its own distinctive energy and absorbing assortment of intricate, utterly beguiling fine details, what these skilful players have created here is no simple homage to the genre-defining icons of yesteryear.

Manipulating its innumerable episodes of incensed, frantically bludgeoning percussion and intensely scabrous riffery with a meticulously calculating intricacy of design and artful pacing, blasphemous banger ‘Dead Eden’ is richly illustrative of the quintet’s decidedly blackened yet uniquely characterful craft. Across a rich, ink-black plethora of exhilarating stylistic shifts and elegantly orchestrated transitions, this sonically expansive epic sees endlessly contorting lashings of tremolo seethe and bristle like a nest of agitated hornets before spilling forth in a fluidly cascading mass of distortion-drenched riffery. Compromising not so much as a single shred of their unrelenting, knife-edged viscerality throughout even the most finely wrought melodic intricacies and coldly reverberating atmospherics, theirs is an exceptionally accomplished blend of synapse-scorching hostility and oftentimes hauntingly ornate complexity.

Commencing on an exquisitely delicate entanglement of ghoulishly echoing fretwork that displays impeccable placement in amongst its various stints of pummelling, insanely paced aggression, mesmeric opener ‘Hymn of Rebellion’ comprises a spectacularly infernal inroad into this blistering yet eerily absorbing slab of a long-player. With its deliriious, airily spiralling crescendos of apocalyptic choirs and densely writhing strains of sultry, thoroughly venomous riffery recalling the ritualistic majesty of early Dimmu, both ‘Ethereal Constrictor’ and the ceaselessly rampaging thrash attack that is ‘Ashes of Men’ go no small way to integrating a host of genre-crossing sonic energies and assorted nuances. However, with its desolate yet exquisitely sculpted flurries of sleekly elongated riffery dissipating eerily away into nothingness in amongst a skull-shattering implosion of machinegun-paced hyperblasts, it’s within the atmosphere-steeped likes of ‘Under the Dead Sky’ that we find the Finns at the crowning pinnacle of their nightmarishly evocative powers.


'Lunatic Choir' is out now via Season of Mist


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