Lustre - They Awoke the Scent of Spring
De Tenebrarum Principio
Ambient Black Metal
4 songs (40' 21")
Release year: 2012
De Tenebrarum Principio
Reviewed by Andy

Ambient/atmospheric black metal is a trickier thing to get right than it first appears. We've been seriously spoiled by amazing atmospheric metal artists who stretch the limits of what the genre can do (I'm a die-hard fan of Summoning), but their successes in the field enable some artists to add some less-than-stellar offerings that have little in common with their forebears but still try to call it "black metal". I regret to say that Lustre, Swedish one-man-band Nachtzeit's ambient project, is one of these. His latest full-length offering, They Awoke the Scent of Spring, is a series of repetitive, keyboard-loop-driven tracks that are a far cry from anything considered black metal -- or even metal at all.

The first track, Part I, sounds promising at first. It's dark, slow, and droning, with hissing vocals that have more in common with the "magic straw" the dentist uses on a patient than with any human voice, but are by no means offensive. The track and riff is the same for about six minutes, with the vocals on and off, and then halfway through, the melody changes to a more cinematic and forlorn melody, producing an atmosphere of fading nobility and grandeur that I can imagine Silenus and Protector of Summoning busily dubbing clips from The Lord of the Rings over. (In fact, since I had another six minutes to go before the song faded out, I tried doing the LoTR clips myself, in a solemn a voice as I could manage -- and really, it sounded pretty good, except for the slight problem of being unable to stop from chortling as I did so.) Ten minutes in, a drum track is added. This is a decent song, even given the very low metal content, but it's the high point.

We go downhill from there. Part II sounds like the continuation of Part I, but the melody's not quite as good, and halfway through, plinking keyboards are added to the mix. 11 minutes of repeats later, we've faded out. Part III is a series of similarly plunking keyboards with a warm synth bass sustain in the background, paired with a simple arpeggiated keyboard melody with a second, sharper instrument. The sharper line then cuts out, leaving the plunking to go by itself till a little over halfway through the song, when the drums cut in for effect; that being said, it's not terrible. Part IV starts with a pouring rain sample, and goes to an ethereal synth pattern that fades into the background. At this point, I was trying hard not to fall asleep, and by six minutes in, the music was already fading out in favor of the rain -- that was two minutes of pouring rain.

This is ambient metal, and it doesn't have to be the sort of thing to which one headbangs; there are plenty of quiet, reflective, or slow albums with a metal pedigree that are fantastic. None of that stops They Awoke the Scent of Spring from being a fundamentally lazy album that leaves the listener feeling unfulfilled, because one feels that Nachtzeit could make more interesting songs than this, but is content to repeat 1-2 riffs after doing so. This has all the atmosphere of one of those "calming ambient" CDs they sell in big-box stores near the greeting card section, and while there it has a couple of good moments, by the end of it, there is no reason to spin it again.

Killing Songs :
Andy quoted 40 / 100
Other albums by Lustre that we have reviewed:
Lustre - A Spark of Times of Old reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
Lustre - A Glimpse of Glory reviewed by Alex and quoted 65 / 100
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