Suldusk - Lunar Falls
Northern Silence Productions
Doomy Blackgaze / Neofolk
10 songs (43' 11")
Available: April 12th, 2019
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Andy

Suldusk belongs to a new generation of female-fronted, occasionally one-woman (like this one) bands claiming a blackened heritage, but with few traditional elements left; a few croaked and whispered vocals are this project's only claim on having anything to do with black metal as a musical style, a claim that is distinctly open to debate. Suldusk's sound is more like that of Trees of Eternity, an influence on them great enough for Lunar Falls to contain a cover of one of their tracks, with less gothic doom and more arborophilic wispiness. Though Emily Highfield can craft a soft but intricate sound, the big draw on Lunar Falls is her voice; she doesn't always use it to its full potential, but her breathy alto carries the album's moody lullabyes further than they'd be able to get on their own.

In spite of an unfortunate reliance on oohs and ahhs by the leading lady, the songs are pretty good. Highfield and her collaborators have patience and take their time developing the atmosphere of the songs, which are sometimes low on melody but have chorus hooks that keep the listener interested. The breakout track is The Elm, a cover of Trees of Eternity's Sinking Ships but with different lyrics. It's a better tune than Suldusk may be able to write at this point in Highfield's career, but I like the Suldusk lyrics even better than the original's, and Highfield's similar but slightly sturdier vocal delivery gives it a different flavor. Three Rivers and Catacombs are also very good, and the short, almost interlude-ish Drogue had me wishing the more driving beat had a longer play time.

Don't expect anything even slightly harsh here, despite the Northern Silence label and occasional Facebook claims of black metal. But as an ethereal doom record of the same type as Hour of the Nightingale, Lunar Falls is quite good in its own right.

Bandcamp: https://suldusk1.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-falls.

Killing Songs :
The Elm, Three Rivers, Catacombs
Andy quoted 80 / 100
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