Ars Magna Umbrae – Through Lunar Gateways (Review)

Ars Magna UmbraeArs Magna Umbrae is a one-man black metal band from Poland and this is his debut EP.

Through Lunar Gateways provides us with terrifying apocalyptic black metal that’s steeped in atmosphere and blackened gloom.

The music on this release is swamped in such rich darkness that you feel like you’re going to be swallowed whole by it. It’s atmospheric black metal that’s condensed into short tracks full of grim majesty and harrowing sonicscapes.

Aggressive bleak melodies, pitch-black distortion and underworld atmospherics are all intermingled in the relatively brief tracks. This demonstrates a focused intent by the creative force behind the music, with the songs crafting the dark feelings they need to and then disappearing back into obscurity before they outstay their welcome.

Dissonant riffs are merged with swirling leads to fashion black metal that sounds as if it was created in some form of occult maelstrom. The concise interpretation of the atmospheric black metal style combined with elements of a frightening dissonance and aspects of post-black metal makes for a truly remarkable first release.

The music is very well-written and constructed. This is not an EP that shows any hesitancy in delivery, or uncertainty of intent. Through Lunar Gateways has arrived fully formed and impressively, stunningly, realised.

The blackened screams and shrieks sound rabid and hateful, and like everything else here are very well-performed. They form the bulk of the vocals on this EP, but they’re certainly not the only style given an outing. The artist is also joined by female operatic guest vocals now and again, adding yet another dimension to the well-thought-out black metal that this release offers.

This EP has a very strong production and execution, so much so that it’s hard to imagine one person doing all this; Through Lunar Gateways sounds like a full band.

This has impressed the Hell out of me. There’s only about 23 minutes of music here too; imagine what this artist could do with a whole album’s worth of material? Hopefully he won’t make us wait too long to find out.

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