ALBUM REVIEW: Lunar Shadow – Wish to Leave

Despite promising to move away from Heavy Metal in favor of a Post Punk sound in marketing materials, Lunar Shadow’s third album still features many of the band’s established quirks. The guitar tone’s lessened distortion promises a less in-your-face attitude, but the actual playing is still based around intricate sweeps and trills. The drumming also continues to mix in some aggressive fills and double bass patterns with the more upbeat rhythms while the vocal delivery still consists primarily of a shrill wail with some variation for mood.

With all this in mind, the dynamics admittedly yield some mixed results. Like Fires Within Fires before it, Wish To Leave (Cruz Del Sur Music) has the guitars set as the primary focus as they provide lush textures that suit the aesthetic. The heavier drums parts can feel out of place at times but seeing the bass step up in prominence helps for proper integration. On the flip side, the vocals aren’t bad but still seem lacking in some regard. It might just be me being one of the people still hung up on the vocalist on Far From Light, but it’s also easy to imagine a lower-pitched vocalist better fitting this style.

The band’s already nuanced songwriting also allows for their usual mix of methods to be applied to a new setting, even if the reduced running time makes for some shorter structures. Tracks like the opening ‘Serpents Die’ and ‘Delomelanicon’ show off a synthesis of influences as extended instrumental passages weave around the danceable verses. Other songs see the dynamics pushed to varying extremes as ‘I Will Lose You’ follows the accessibility of ‘Roses’ while ‘The Darkness Between The Stars’ closes out with the overtly Metal flourishes pushed to the forefront. ‘To Dusk And I Love You’ may be the band’s most drastic outlier, applying a rainy urban overcast to a subdued bluesy rhythm that reminds me of Empire-era Queensrÿche in a way.

Overall, Wish To Leave is an interesting effort that sees Lunar Shadow furthering their artistic development while still retaining their individual characteristics. There are some noticeable growing pains in comparison to their first two albums as the varying influences seem to clash more often than before, but it ultimately comes through thanks to the rock-solid musicianship. Given that the band seems to be in constant flux, it’s easy to imagine them taking the best elements from this album and pushing them forward. These fusions of Heavy Metal and Post Punk are only going to get more prominent with time and I’m glad that Lunar Shadow still puts in their two cents.

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7 / 10