Hailing from Poland, Arkona are a veteran black metal band and this is their sixth album.
Lunaris boasts 48 minutes of the kind of second wave black metal that would be right at home had it actually been released in the 90s, probably about the time that Arkona actually formed.
This is an album based on the classic black metal template of the time, forged through experience and the hands of people that have been doing this long enough to know how to write good black metal. And it is very, very good.
Blackened riffs of frosted hate seep out of the music with distorted malevolence as the band demonstrate their mastery of this particular dark art. The melodies on the songs are particularly enjoyable. With the right combination of colour and grandeur, they combine with the pitch-black rhythm guitars to produce rich auras of cold evil.
Despite the wind-swept and frosted nature of this kind of black metal, there’s a lot of feeling, passion and emotive atmosphere on Lunaris. The songs grab you instantly and don’t let go until you’ve become fully engaged with their blackened vision.
Subtle keyboards add another layer in places, never detracting from the icy attack of the guitars and drums though, as they’re merely used to enhance and provide textured highlights rather than be any form of main event.
The recording is strong without being overly polished; perfectly judged and entirely appropriate for this kind of music.
Vocally we get classic-styled screams that are extremely enjoyable. The singer has a great voice for this kind of frosted work, and his performance is full of hatred and darkness, as we would expect.
I find this kind of release easy to hugely enjoy, and because Arkona know their art so very, very well, Lunaris is definitely one of the strongest second-wave black metal albums I’ve heard in quite some time.
For fans of bands like Marduk, 1349, Enthroned, Horna and Watain, with hints of Windir/Vreid for extra atmosphere.