Lunar Shadow - Wish to Leave
Cruz Del Sur Music
Post-punk / Post-metal
6 songs (36' 7")
Available: March 09th, 2021
Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewed by Andy

Just when Lunar Shadow's occasionally-black melodic metal sound was making a splash, guitarist and songwriter Max Birbaum decided he wanted to jettison pretty much all the blackness and most of the heavy metal in favor of post-punk influences that he started getting into. Gone are almost all of the heavy, chugging riffs and true-metal Manowar stylings of previous albums, replaced by ringing, layered picking and mostly mid-tempo beats. That's not as bad is it sounds, because the songwriting and guitar work is first-rate, and though Cruz del Sur is pitching this as a genre change, there's still a heavy metal band playing underneath this new style.

Part of that is due to vocalist Robert Röttig, who perhaps never got the memo, and still lets out falsetto screams and as harsh a set of vocals as he appears to be capable of on parts of Serpents Die and some of the other tracks. In fact, much of the album has the sense of sonic transition, one that started with a sound that the fans liked but that the songwriter already was moving away from. Thus, if you liked the Roses track on The Smokeless Fires, there are more like it this time. I Will Lose You still has a screaming guitar solo, but it's of a piece with the style of the previous album's gentlest songs, while To Dusk and I Love You begins with a bluesy swinging beat before switching to its mid-tempo, as if the band stuck together two different songs. Sometimes the listener could be pardoned for feeling some regret at seeing something that would be a ripping NWOBHM-style track get watered down with clean riffs and Röttig's blandest delivery to something that the band can fit into their new conception of what they should sound like.

The misty hills of Cimmeria aren't completely forgotten. The Darkness Between the Stars cranks up the volume a bit and adds some much-needed speed and power to the beat and riffing, though it returns to the meandering picking of the rest of the album towards the end. Nor has Birbaum given up his songwriting abilities even as he tries to broaden his horizons. Even when it looks like he didn't quite know what he was trying to do with a track, the result is at least interesting -- and occasionally amazing. Wish to Leave, despite all the "post-"s stuck in its promotional descriptions, still has enough heavy metal content to please longtime listeners.

Bandcamp: https://lunarshadow.bandcamp.com/.

Killing Songs :
To Dusk and I Love You, The Darkness Between the Stars
Andy quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Lunar Shadow that we have reviewed:
Lunar Shadow - The Smokeless Fires reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
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