Review: Lustre – “A Glimpse of Glory” (2010)

Swedish one-man project Lustre‘s latest full-length has much in common with ambient black metal, although some subtle post-rock influences prevent it from being just an album’s worth of Burzum or Velvet Cacoon at their most minimal. A Glimpse of Glory is the kind of black ambient that’s more suitable as background noise than as something you actively listen to, with the main question being whether or not its ambience creates an entrancing atmosphere you’ll want to come back to. Lustre’s particular approach, with its droning repetition and surprisingly uplifting melodies, fell a bit short of pulling me under its spell, but I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that fans of Burzum or more recent adherents to this style like Petrychor and Spectral Lore wouldn’t draw some enjoyment from this album.

The three tracks on A Glimpse of Glory are mostly dominated by keyboards. Ghostly melodies form through the keys and the drifting guitars, which sometimes approach the trebly, shimmering style of post-rock and provide an interesting contrast to the usual bleak feel carried by this sort of music. A Glimpse of Glory is still clearly rooted in black metal however, with occasional blackened vocals injecting a slightly harsher, uglier touch into the overall sound. With the expansive, repetitive nature of Lustre’s soundscapes, small ambient touches like the crashing of waves or the forlorn howl of a wolf take on much greater importance, and help the songs on A Glimpse of Glory capture a feeling of loneliness and earthy mysticism.

I feel like the perfect time to throw this album on would be in the early hours of dawn inside a wood cabin in a remote forest, looking out at the snow-covered surroundings. Lustre’s latest offering isn’t all about darkness and evil like so much of the rest of the genre. Instead its subtle melodicism and drifting ambience pays homage to nature in all its majesty and unblemished beauty. However, a certain sense of isolation and subtle despair also creeps into the songs, separating A Glimpse of Glory from the hordes of uninspired ambient compositions out there.

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October 24, 2010 in Album Reviews

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