Lunar Shadow – Far From Light (2017)

Though this is only their debut album, these German heavyweights were somehow unable to pull from all of the best and most notable sources of NWOBHM, which range from Saxon and Diamond Head to good old Iron Maiden. Notably, they’ve also been heavily compared to that of another act I am truly fond of, Dark Forest. But here comes the funny thing – even though they’re a German act, they sound almost profoundly British. It’s quite amazing really, even frontman A. Vornam seems to be able to pull off a little bit of Paul McCartney in his vocal tone, which is quite staggering to say the least. These same aesthetics might be why so many people were driven to the more simplified Ghost, even though I’ve lost all the respect that I’ve ever had towards that band, almost coming to the point of taking down one of my reviews for their albums (It hasn’t come to that yet, unfortunately – but I hate to have promoted such a slave labor business operation). In any case, fans of nameless ghouls might find themselves quite mesmerized by an act like this, which embodies such a thrilling level of melody that I’m nearly awestruck. I didn’t exactly catch this on the first listen, but you’d better believe that I’m hearing it now. Without batting an eye, I can see that lead and rhythm guitarists Max “Savage” Birbaum and K. Hamacher can clearly weave some of the most complex and colorful tapestries that I’ve heard in a good while, and I mean that.

What’s more, is that the record has a wonderful production job where a slight mix between raw instrumentation and clarity has been observed with tremendous results. Far From Light almost seems like a classical performance in a way, as every instrument is given it’s place in the sun and the vocals aren’t in any way impedent upon these fantastically crafted riff melodies. The record isn’t overly heavy, but there are a few numbers where drummer J. Zehner will speed up to an almost death metal pace while Vornam also demonstrates the fact that yes, he does possess a very hefty vocal bark worthy of any death metal album. I’m almost reminded of Monsterworks at times and knowing how much a fan that I am of their structures, I was quite pleased to see another band playing in a similar style. To be honest, there are only a few bands that have toyed with this level of playing, like early Slough Feg and Hammers Of Misfortune perhaps and it’s always a pleasure to see this new sound revamped and some might even say, renwed. God knows Metallica have forgotten it long ago, especially with the funk and groove metal that made up their last outing.

I was watching a documentary where an artist explained that heavy metal was so difficult to play because it is normally played in a 4/4 style, which is usually reserved for classical music – which again, you can hear on this album. Despite S. Hamacher’s fiery bass riffs, the melodic complexities in this act are so well-tuned that you’d almost compare it to that of Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. Which if I’m not mistaken, were some of the building blocks of this style to begin with. A little bit of blues, a dash of punk and a huge helping of classical. Much has changed since then, with an enormous amount of musical babies being crafted, but more or less; this is what we started with. So are Lunar Shadow evidence that we’ve finally come full circle back into the past? Quite possibly, as I’m almost frightened to what nuances will unearth as we keep moving forward into newer metal trends. Sure, it isn’t even half as heavy as some of you might like – but you should still sit down with it and kind of soak in this excellent and ancient style of heavy metal that really defined what the genre would be and why it has persevered these many years.

The very lifeblood of heavy metal exists in Far From Light, an album that I am quite grateful to now have in my collection. You only need to listen to the video clip below to witness the act’s greatness, which I’m sure will have you shouting from the rooftops. More than just a band to watch, I’m wondering how Lunar Shadow will ever possibly be able to top something like this. The Grim Tower highly recommends Lunar Shadow’s Far From Light, so definitely pick it up and tell all of your friends. Spread the name of Lunar Shadow far and wide, for the sound of true heavy metal music has returned and better than ever!

(8 Tracks, 57:00)

9/10

https://lunarshadow.bandcamp.com

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