They Awoke to the Scent of Spring: repetitive nature-themed black metal with nothing to say

Lustre, They Awoke to the Scent of Spring, Italy, De Tenebrarum Principio, DTP023 CD (2012)

A nature-themed atmospheric black metal album of beings that hibernate for most of the year to enjoy a brief period of life during spring, “They Awoke to the Scent of Spring” is grim majestic epic work. The music is split into four parts of which only the first two feature lyrics. Lustre’s style encompasses two extremes, one based on raw black metal guitar and the other based on pure-toned synth and both carrying all the advantages and limitations of their respective ranges. Ultimately they suffer from a fairly limited vision on the Lustre musician Nachtzeit’s part.

Part 1 begins well with aggressive raw BM guitar noise that burns steadfastly for much of the track until a repetitive synthesiser melody loop takes over and dominates the rest of the piece. Repetition and monotony reign for what seems an excruciating eternity. Part 2 starts out well enough but like Part 1, it’s slow-paced and endlessly repetitive. The vocals are reverb-heavy slurry that slide over the tremolo guitars.

The later two parts are very different, essentially being atmospheric non-BM acoustically styled material but still as slow and minimalist as the previous tracks. The fourth part is a ghostly piece composed entirely of a looping field recording of falling water and a wistful circular synth motif.

That Nachtzeit wants to emphasise the circular narrative of nature and life, and implicitly suggest that humans are also part of this order and if they try to subvert it, they will come to ruin (because as we know, Nature always bats last); but beyond stating the obvious, he does very little else with the music. Imagine reading one of those experimental novels where the backgrounds and furnishings are described in exquisite detail and the characters’s clothes receive equal fastidious attention, but what they do, say and think is unknown, and you have some idea of how this album pans out. We are left with a very well-crafted work of ambient black metal that really has nothing to add to the genre overall.

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