posted on 4/2009 By:
Metal with female vocals.
“What is this, Nightwish?”
Not at all.
“What is this, Arch Enemy?”
No, well, I’ll get to that. Besides, they’re American.
“What is this, Metallica?”
………”What is this, Nirvana?”
Formerly known as The Ottoman Empire, this crafted collection of hard-working Wisconsiners have come alive in 2009 with a solid collection of sundry tunes, crisscrossing genres like a drunk in a record store. After flashing the goods at Century Media with an unreleased demo, the band returned to modern metal production guru Jason Suecof (Trivium, All That Remains, Daath) to turn those four songs into the ten-track tapestry that should give them the recognition they deserve.
Based on some solid NWBHM foundations, The Absence borrows some of the more respectable elements of power metal and combines with neither in nor out of the box progressive song-writing, similar to that of Symphorce. Tracks like “The Departure” showcase a sound ability to disclose emotion, making good use of a slower tempos and a great minor to major chorus, whilst rhythm and melody take charge in songs like “Phantoms” and the unflagging title track. The album has the overall feel of a good Blaze Bayley album. But without Blaze Bayley.
The elements are seamlessly involved in each other, but the real excitement comes from the blood red metal thrash melodies of songs like “Ash,” with guitar tones reminiscent of bands like Sanctity (also Suecof), injecting sufficient amounts of adrenaline to many of the calmer verses and hearty choruses. I imagine Luna Mortis’s main selling point is the vocals of “Metal Mary” Zimmer though.
A very competent and captivating frontwoman, Zimmer’s clean singing is powerful, but often lacks a sense of urgency and action. This can work both ways, connecting very organically with wavier walking-paced melodies and rhythms, but on otherwise likeable tracks like “Forever More,” they feel shy and blasé over the heavier moments. Luckily, this is usually when polar mode is engaged and she Jekylls into a screaming demoness of melodic death, not to be fucked with. The two and fro between styles works perfectly, but as much as it pains me to constantly compare evil woman growls to Angela Gossow, this time I must.
The true glory of Luna Mortis is the guitar work though, and the kindling chemistry between guitar master Brian Koenig and youthful apprentice Cory Scheider. Riffs of all shapes and sizes rally from start to finish, interrupted only with adequaetly allocated solo sections; musical chess to the two six-string compadres. Their bond is strong and has all the makings of any of the great metal guitar partnerships.
As they set out on tour supporting Edguy this coming autumn, Luna Mortis are no strangers to being on the same bill as some great bands (Megadeth, Dream Theater, Nevermore) and if they can squeeze a bit more energy out of their work into their live show, there is no reason why The Absence is only the beginning for them.
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