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Lunar Portals of the Astral Mirror : Под Шёпот...

Some may complain about the too obvious influences of Lunar Portals of the Astral Mirror but the first track of this record is proof enough that they can develop their very own style.

Quality or quantity? This is a valid question for everything Funeral Doom coming from either Russia or Ukraine. There's no denying that these two countries have been among the most prolific ones for this peculiar genre. No denying either in acknowledging the fact that they gave us some well known masterpieces but also... please excuse my French... a shitload of crap bands with mono-neuronal/riffing musicality and cheap keys coming from the masterminds of bedroom geniuses.

Fortunately for me and for you, Lunar Portals of the Astral Mirror, though a rather recent band, qualify for the better bands that come out from Mother Russia. Before we go on with the review of this record, let me just say that, actually, there's not that much to say about biographical events and so on. That is if, like me, you don’t speak a word of Russian because besides the name of the band and the title 'Astral Mirror' everything is written in Cyrillic alphabet which does not help:

1 – Understanding whatever’s written in the liner notes
2 – Writing down this review
3 – Enhance sales outside of the former Socialists Republics
4 – All of the above

Too bad.

I guess it’s fair to assume that LPotAM is a two piece band by the picture in the booklet and that’s very much all I can say. When you look at the titles of the songs, I'm pretty sure it is self-explanatory that they don't sing in English either.

OK. That actually sums up all the negative things I can say about this release. And now onto the review itself. Funeral Doom in Russia has a tendency to add lots of keyboards and LPotAM are no exception to this rule. Still as much as they can’t really escape the ever redundant comparison to Finnish bands like Colosseum or Shape Of Despair, the fact is that LPotAM add an original twist to these. Do not look for “Russian” analogies with, let’s say, Comatose Vigil or , but look rather down south to Mournful Congregation.

Should we wish to oversimplify this, LPotAM could be described as the perfect mix between key-laden a la Finnish Funeral Doom and the epic forlorn beauty of the Aussies. The vocals are rather raw and so is the rest of the production which brings quite the contrast when the keys set in. How raw is this? Guess you’d have to, at the very least, listen to the first track of the record which, in my opinion, is the highlight of this record. For fifteen minutes, the Russian act displays very Mournful Congregation-like music though somehow lacking the finesse (thanks to the production) of the Australian band and then when you’re expecting it the least, comes a full blast of putrid and raw Black Metal onslaught which you’d come to expect from bands like Archgoat or Pseudogod. And not only it is mind-blowing but it makes perfect sense and seems quite natural (which makes one wonder about these guys’ background).

Then comes a “mild” deception. The surprise created by the very first track soon fades away gradually throughout the record and though they retain this well-thought out Shape of Mournful Congregation sound, one finds himself yearning to get back to this very first track. Also, as the tracks go on, LPotAM add some “nature” touch in the forms of samples (forest stream, various animals) which contrast with the raw avalanche of the opening track taking more on a "Funeral Pagan" touch which could be compared to their homeland counterparts Vo Skorbiah minus the farcical theatricals.

A very interesting record and a promising debut. Some may complain about the too obvious influences of the band but the first track of this record is proof enough that they can develop their very own style and not suffer the eternal comparisons. Which, if you know this scene, is quite a luxury as there are very few leaders and so many followers. And they have all it takes to jump from one category to the other. Only time will tell but in the mean time you’re more than welcome to give these guys a try.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Дремали Деревья Под Ночным Небом...
2. Вдали Огонёк За Рекою...
3. Луны Отражение В Чёрной Воде...
4. Astral Mirror
5. Наедине С Дыханьем Бездны Ты Не Останешься Один. Живи Для Тех Кому Ты Дорог

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Lunar Portals of the Astral Mirror bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-01-25 by Frederic Cerfvol
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