Written by: The Administrator
First things first: Fullmåne's Lurking in the dark is a lo-fi affair--the rawest application of punk-infused black metal you're likely to find whilst trawling through the underground. This is, indeed, a self-described "dark and dirty snapshot of night time drifting, paranoia and drugs." As such, it's only appropriate that we acclimate ourselves accordingly. Prior to starting in, then, let me find my scratchiest quill, my faintest ink, and my poorest quality parchment. I'll remove my cloak as well--better to write with the lingering threat of frostbite. Oh, and let me shut off the lantern for good measure. In the case of today's EP in question, I think it would be better if I worked by the light of the moon.
There, that's settled. Now I'm ready. Are you ready? Good.
Hyperbole aside, this really is some raw shit--that, of course, in the best sense of the word. Thankfully, I typically dislike when my metal is overcooked and otherwise overdone; there's a reason shiny tech-death and glossy prog seldom receive coverage from yours truly. But yet, rather than playing the expected icy-cold black metal, Fullmåne's brand involves a tasty conglomerate of rock 'n' roll, punk, noise, psychedelia, and a lil' proto-metal, all filtered through a blackened horror aesthetic.
As such, tremolos and screeches aren't the only pieces of this blackened puzzle. Take, for example, intro track "the world wil burn," which gives some credence to the old joke that black metal is just surf rock with distortion. This is a loose and bouncy tune, with an infectious punk riff that builds in intensity across the breadth. Meanwhile, (standout track) "Cut me open" as a prime example of the genre-melding on display, with its simple marching percussion and a bouncy riff that simultaneously recalls raunchy garage rock and the perverted theme song for an 80's carnival-themed slasher. "Addicted n broke" sounds like a black n roll tribute to grunge. Betwixt the thrashing tunes, elements of psychedelics enter the picture in the form of two interludes: "Space1" and the subsequent "Space2," the former of which is static-ridden, the latter of which is boisterous and exclamatory. All told, there's a complex mix of sounds on display, unified under one aesthetic umbrella of raw grit. It's noisy, it's rough, and yet....the songs don't necessarily feel under-baked. There's an oddly complete quality to everything lurking herein, and I suspect that has to do with the obvious strength of the composition. This is a one-man outfit, so the (self-declared) Pyroman holds the creative reins on the entire show. The dude clearly has some talent in the songwriting department.
Another unifying factor are the vocals, delivered in a harshly strained yelp, which pair particularly well with the tracks (and moments) that speed up the pace a tad--see the back halves of "The world wil burn" and "Break Away." The lyrics are distinguishable and straight-to-the-point, which certainly helps in the listenability department. I'm reminded vaguely of Vredensdal in terms of the forthright delivery--Pyroman's vox isn't content to hang in the background, although this may partially be a side effect of the production.
On that note, any constructive criticism I have to level would be directed, frankly, exclusively at the production. And that's to be expected in the case of a presumably low-budget recording job. For the most part, the bedroom studio black metal aesthetic fits, but there are several elements that are particularly distracting in the mix. The first is the guitar tone, which sounds akin to something produced by a banjo made out of cardboard. I get the icy lo-fi gestalt, but a little extra heft would lend these catchy riffs some needed punch. And, secondly, there's something odd happening with the channels. The left and right feel oddly disconnected, and there are moments throughout that are fairly disorienting when wearing headphones. But, all that aside, production isn't something I fault up-n-coming musicians for. The meat of the musicianship is rock-solid, and the compositions are very good to boot.
This EP is, I will freely admit, not for everyone. If you like your metal neat, polished, and coated with a veneer of professionalism, Lurking in the dark may be a little too harsh for you taste. However, this will appeal to fans of music that gets down and dirty, full stop. The utilization of punky riffs and beats gives the entire affair a highly energetic vibe, and the horror atmosphere lends it a uniquely spooky aesthetic. Thus: if production is of no consequence and you like your metal bloody raw, I recommend giving Fullmåne a shot.
Fullmåne - Lurking in the dark was independently released March 2nd, and Screaming Skull Records will be releasing a version on tape, forthcoming.
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!