Aludra – Mass Stellar Graves (Review)

Aludra - Mass Stellar GravesThis is the second album from Aludra, a black metal band from the US.

This is cosmic-themed black metal, raw and hostile. The album features the vocalist of Ancient Hostility, and her piercing shrieks ring out from the music in streaks of colourless power. Her performance is enjoyable and forceful, providing the songs with a focal point as they explore the outer reaches of the universe.

The music is raw and underground, combining harsh aggression with a more considered atmospheric side. The aggressive side of the musical equation has a melodic ability that recalls French black metal from the early 00s. It’s fast and otherworldly, while also having emotive, worldbuilding qualities that are absent in a lot of black metal. The atmospheric elements – including moments of dark ambience and touches of synths – are evocative and emotive in their affecting impact. This side of the music is the most effective part for me, although you can’t separate this band into halves as I have seemed to imply so far; everything here is emotive, melodic, and atmospheric in ways that most similar bands can’t match.

These songs really are very good, and the album seems to improve as it progresses. Instrumental song Out of Chaos and longest track Black Void Damnation are particularly strong.

Easily bringing to mind the grandeur and alien majesty of the subject matter, Mass Stellar Graves is a characterful and individual album, one which succeeds in using the blackened style to explore its concept well. The music is well-written, and establishes its own personality quite quickly.

Make sure you check this out. It’s not your typical black-by-numbers release, and should be appreciated all the more because of it.

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