Lusus sent me their debut album a while back, entitled Per Aspera Ad Astra. This record is a weird one. I’m reminded of acts like Brainstorm and Tad Morose, but Lusus are heavier than both. Additionally, the vocals take on a bit of an abstract turn which can result in harsh screams, operatic musings and other things. It’s kind of interesting and maybe even makes me think of Devil Doll a little bit.
We start out with a cut like “Jet Black Pope” which throws in a death metal growl and some rather pummeling drums. This is starting to sound a bit like early Mercenary and of course, those creepy Gothic synths add a nice touch. Then you’ve got “Six Feet Under” where a more defined chorus is utilized, right before “Julia” starts out pummeling and throws me right into groove. Lusus have a great deal of promise and I hope this won’t be the only record I hear from them. This idea to mix classic power metal with extreme elements, while changing the vocal style to meld with such changes can come off electrifying at times. There’s one hell of a band here and this is just the unveiling.
After that, we’ve got “As Happy As Sad Can Be” which the band actually shot a video for, so check that out on YouTube. “The Sun” changes the mood altogether, bringing in acoustic and soft rock elements, with a slightly heavy punch. There’s real potential here, but I’m not hearing what I feel is a strong enough ballad. I notice tinges of greatness, but I’m not quite sold on this side of the band just yet. “The Moon” seems to capture the feeling I’m looking for a bit better, rendering “The Sun” nearly useless. Also, the background piano is a nice touch. The record ends with “Myriad Of Tears” which yet again shows just how musically talented these guys are.
The record is peppered with so many different styles of riffs, tempo changes and other bells and whistles that make it an entertaining listen. This is actually the kind of record I would have really dug back in my younger years of finding new bands on the internet. I could’ve seen Century Media taking a gamble on these guys around that time, but I don’t think they would now as the industry as a whole is broken. Sure, Per Aspera Ad Astra is a bit rough around the edges, but I dig it and it would have grown on me the way that other records had back in those days. I regret that I don’t really have the time to soak records in like I used to do back in those days, but this is one of them that I think I would’ve given plenty of time to soak in and would’ve came back to several times, like I did with Mercenary’s 13 Dreams.
I’d definitely recommend giving the guys a look, and mark my words that I could’ve seen this kind of thing signed by Century Media, Metal Blade – those labels were willing to take a gamble on these kinds of bands. Hell, maybe AFM would be willing to do it. There’s talent here and someone needs to get on it. The disc also could use a better mixing job, that would certainly help parts of the disc I found to be a bit raw as well as some of the more overbearing vocal moments that might just be a little too high in the mix.