Through Lunar Gateways is the inaugural EP from Polish atmospheric black metal project Ars Magna Umbrae released by Hellthrasher Productions on June 23, 2017. Despite its twenty-two-minute runtime, the album does a phenomenal job at establishing a solid atmosphere within the first four minutes – between both the recording’s intro ‘Into the Inescapable Madness’, and its first full-length track ‘Against the Light’.
Though the album as a whole sounds like many others within the “atmospheric black” subgenre, the thing that makes this album stand out would be its use of clean female vocals – provided by Hekte Zaren of Adaestuo – present on ‘The Paradox Paradigm’ and the title track ‘Through Lunar Gateways’, along with the eerie choral chanting which beautifully ties off the album. I have not heard clean vocals particularly often in this subgenre.
The brevity of the album adds to a sort of surreal feeling in the listener; which, as previously mentioned, is concisely developed within its first four minutes. The reason for this is that it’s one of those albums that has such a strong, fleshed-out atmosphere, that it feels as though the listener is awakening from a dream – or, as I feel are the usual intentions of artists in this subgenre: nightmare. (…as a citation for this, may I direct you to check out ‘The Dreaming I’ by Akhlys, as I believe – though am not entirely sure – the artist was attempting to convey his feelings during nightmares or night terrors with his music.)
I enjoy this album greatly, I really do, but I would recommend that the artist continue experimenting with unique ideas to avoid sounding too similar to many other bands in this subgenre. I want this project to stand out, and I feel that that’s the best way to do it.
In summary, I encourage you to give this a listen if you enjoy stuff by Ahklys, Spectral Lore, or The Great Old Ones.
1. Into The Inescapable Madness
2. Against The Light
3. The Paradox Paradigm
4. Between Ecstasy And Histery (Interlude)
5. Through Lunar Gateways
6. Of Thousand Suns
7. On The Crossroads
All music composed and produced by D.A Khthōn. Guest chants by Hekte Zaren of Adaestuo (W.T.C. Productions). Artwork by Nöt.