Album Review: Night Shall Drape Us – Lunatic Choir

Night Shall Drape Us - Album Review

Album Review: Night Shall Drape Us - Lunatic Choir
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

Lunatic Choir is the debut album from one-man Black Metal project, Night Shall Drape Us, from Black Death Ritual, Deathchain and Horna drummer, Kassara, here named LRH. For this recording LRH occupied all musical positions, though an appropriate Horde has been recruited for live dates.

In the spirit of True Scandinavian Black Metal, Lunatic Choir sounds of the icy reaches of LHR’s native Finland, eight songs that evoke the frozen forests and snow-covered vistas of those Northern climes.

Having LRH being the sole contributor to the album affords Lunatic Choir a singular sound that, while consistently engaging throughout, might have further benefitted from some external input.

Hymn of Rebellion opens in an ambient fashion but, all the while you know a storm is coming in. Sure enough, cymbals wash and bass lines give way to ripping guitars spewing dirty Black Metal riffs with a torn-throat vocal. The first portion of this opener plays closer to a safer sound, bombastic without being downright menacing; the second half, however, sees Night Shall Drape Us going for the jugular and looking to extract the moral soul of anyone in attendance.

Album Review: Night Shall Drape Us - Lunatic Choir

The project’s take on this form of Black Metal is reminiscent of post-Gaahl-era Gorgoroth. Both Dead Eden and Ashes of Men eschew any form of niceties in favour of blasting drums and sawing guitars, forming a maelstrom of evil and decay; the former having something of an epic outro and the latter uses multi-layering on the vocals to create an uncanny effect.

Unification is fast and raging, before becoming somewhat danceable at the three-quarter mark; Under the Dead Sky features an ambient mid-section that wouldn’t be out of place on a Cradle of Filth record and LRH might well blow his voice out completely if he insists on performing Lunacy and Horror live.

LHR is long enough in the tooth to know that sometimes less is more and his use of light and shade gives Lunatic Choir its moments of respite. Ethereal Constrictor begins with a swing and takes a Dimmu approach to the repeating riffs. Whereas album closer, The Queen of the Red Streams builds atmosphere through appropriate use of acoustic guitars.

At forty minutes, Night Shall Drape Us’ debut is about the right length for an Extreme Metal album. More, and you run the risk of diluting the message through sheer fatigue. Thirty years on from all that malarky in Norway and it pleasing to hear new material in a similar vein being produced, although a little more sanitised than Mayhem, Burzum and their ilk.

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