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Lunatic Soul

Crossover Prog

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Lunatic Soul Through Shaded Woods album cover
3.98 | 214 ratings | 6 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Navvie (4:03)
2. The Passage (8:57)
3. Through Shaded Woods (5:51)
4. Oblivion (5:03)
5. Summoning Dance (9:52)
6. The Fountain (6:04)

Total Time 39:50

Special Ltd Edition Bonus CD:
1. Vyraj (5:32)
2. Hylophobia (3:20)
3. Transition II (27:45)

Total Time 36:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Mariusz Duda / vocals, all instruments

Releases information

Label: KScope
Format: Vinyl, CD, 2CD (Special Ltd.) Digital
November 13, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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Buy LUNATIC SOUL Through Shaded Woods Music

LUNATIC SOUL Through Shaded Woods ratings distribution

(214 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LUNATIC SOUL Through Shaded Woods reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars There is nothing else quite like the thrill of entering into the world of Lunatic Soul. Well, it's less of a thrill, and more of a sacred joy, or at least that is how it feels sometimes. Lunatic Soul is back with a new album, called "Through Shaded Woods", and I imagine that it will be remembered as one of the best. The album releases on November 13th through Kscope.

Lunatic Soul is the original solo output for Mariusz Duda of Riverside. I still remember first hearing the LS debut and falling instantly in love with this very different side of his musical expression. Over the years, the project has explored folk, post-prog, electronic, and Gothic ideas, gathering all of these concepts into one mysterious and hazy experience. Indeed, there is a romance and a hidden sentiment in every single album that rouses my love for enigma, spirituality, and gravity. In fact, the lyrics and storyline for this project are so complex and yet so powerfully emotive that I still haven't attempted to write a spotlight for any of them. This project is both painstakingly human as well as blissfully otherworldly, and I cherish that.

With "Through Shaded Woods", Mariusz has returned somewhat to the sound of the first two records. Now, I say "somewhat" because this record doesn't just explore vague folkish ideas, aka Dead Can Dance, but employs that darkness to explore Scandinavian folk music very specifically with all the evocation and wonder that it deserves. Mariusz is a big fan of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and so you will hear that mountainous sound throughout the album, but also the green of hushed forests and fantastical creatures. I especially love the moments where Mariusz pays tribute to the Dragon Shouts from Skyrim with utter class and melody.

As usual, no electric guitars are present on this album, though Mariusz does manipulate his trusty bass to sound like distorted electric guitar at a few points. This album is heavy in that regard, though still retaining the spacious, murky whiteness of Lunatic Soul II. Indeed, this album is most at home with itself with tumultuous percussion, raging bass, and unnervingly peaceful atmospheres creating layers of beauty and light, darkness and sadness, faith and courage.

There are two things I need to mention about the music here. First, this might be the best vocal performance of Mariusz's career thus far. He certainly has one of my favorite voices ever, but I just feel something more colorful, more melodic, and more harmonious in his vocals on this album. His voice is truly a beacon of light here, and I have to admit that I've been deeply impressed by his diction and articulation. Most people wouldn't notice that, I know, but there are moments when Mariusz pronounces each and every sound in a word with such effortless precision and clarity that my love for language grows just a little.

Secondly, while this album may rely on thundering percussion, voluptuous bass, and serene keys at times, the real star of the show is Mariusz's acoustic guitar. He weaves folk melodies with such care and fleeting exactitude on almost every song, playing with illustrious skill and festive feeling. Honestly, it makes me want to dance sometimes, which isn't like me. Not since witnessing Steve Hackett's 12-string guitar skills live have I been so mesmerized by acoustic playing.

Lyrically, "Through Shaded Woods" is absolutely wonderful. I honestly haven't figured out Mariusz's map of where each album fits in his timeline, but I can still make out the general feelings here. This album seems to mention the afterlife ferryman's warning in "The Final Truth" from the debut. This warning was that the protagonist had to make a choice: to keep or lose his memories of life. If he chose to keep them, his loved ones would forget him. If he chose to lose his memories, he would be remembered forever. This album seems to take place directly after Lunatic Soul II, then, as that album was the protagonist's entrance into the afterlife. "Through Shaded Woods" sees our friend learning to cope with the things he has seen and felt. He is living his afterlife, more or less, and he seems to be reaching out to his lover in his past life. The lyrics are therefore quite sorrowful and introspective, yet I find them to be confident and daring, too. Our friend is beginning to have faith, something that has eluded him in life. He especially seems to have faith that he will see his love again one day, if only he can let go of her for the moment.

The full version of "Through Shaded Woods" has two discs. The first disc is the main part of the album, coming to six tracks. The second disc has three bonus tracks, which I believe is a necessary part of the album, especially if you are already a fan. We've all heard the two singles, "Navvie" and "The Passage", both of which are excellent. I love the winding mystery of the former, especially Mariusz's smooth vocals. The latter is like a progressive epic in some ways, despite only be 9 minutes long. I love the various transitions and the heavy portion, but I think the acoustic guitar steals the spotlight.

The rest of the album is just as good. The title track is dark and mysterious for the first half before transitioning into some truly phenomenal vocal lines. I love how his voice interweaves with the keys at the end. "Oblivion" (maybe another ode to Elder Scrolls?) was my favorite after first listen. This track has the Dragon Shouts and a very folkish atmosphere and rhythm. I love how that rhythm remains, unrelenting, for the entire track, and everything else happens along that touchstone. "Summoning Dance" is a ten-minute track that is delicate and truly lovely, not to mention having some of the best lyrics. It has a iron ton of bass in its blood, and the rising acoustic rhythm peaks near the end with some atmospheric keys that remind me of "Walking on a Flashlight Beam".

The final track is called "The Fountain", and it is certainly one of my favorite songs of the year. For one thing, it makes me cry every time I hear it. The song is so full of heartbreak and loss, longing and passion, that I cannot help but empathize. Yet, it is full of confidence and patience, too. This song is mostly just an acoustic ballad, but Mariusz sings magnificently, and the lyrics are so potent. In the second half, a sweeping tide of feelings, keyboards, and piano takes us away to another place, and everything sounds simply perfect.

The second disc does not lack in quality. The first couple songs, "Vyraj" and "Hylophobia" (fear of forests), are pounding, boisterous affairs. You will rollick right along with the folk rhythms; they are definitely fun tracks. Then comes "Transition2", a twenty-seven minute experience. This song feels like a tribute to the entire discography, to the places we've been and the visions we've seen. You will hear familiar snippets of past LS songs, only re-recorded and played and sung differently. The song is mostly new, however, with those snippets just providing structure. Overall, it does indeed remind me of "Transition", which happens to be my favorite LS track for various reasons. This sequel passes through many moods and places, some riveting and tumultuous, and some peaceful and quieting. It is a beautiful song, one that I need to explore even more.

"Through Shaded Woods" feels like the grand culmination of everything Lunatic Soul has worked to create. While it focuses on folk sounds, I feel like each and every LS album is important to how this one was created. Mariusz has definitely been busy this year, and he has outdone himself with this moving masterpiece.

Originally posted on

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The folk side of master songwriter and singer Mariuz Duda.

1. "Navvie" (4:03) powerful and deeply engaging in a FAUN kind of way. My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

2. "The Passage" (8:57) dull and boring. (17/20)

3. "Through Shaded Woods" (5:51) a little too repetitive and drawn out (8.75/10)

4. "Oblivion" (5:03) That voice! Great use of zither, synths, and hand percussives. A top three song from me. (9/10)

5. "Summoning Dance" (9:52) nice start but, as is often the case with Mariuz Duda's Lunatic Soul songs, it fails to deviate from the foundation, only adding pretty and interesting incidentals here and there. Nice vocal melody and performance(s)--especially in the choruses. (There is an uncredited female voice singing background harmonies in the choruses). I like the use of piano, mandolin, and synths. When it goes slightly house/disco in the sixth minute, it's an interesting distraction, but then it goes rock with the fuzzy electric guitars and THIN LIZZY-like multiple guitar riffing. At the 8-minute mark there is a gap of stillness before returning to a full soundscape of all that has occurred before while synth strings lead over the top. (17.5/20)

6. "The Fountain" (6:04) a beautiful and very different song, vocal. Reminds me a little of a modern version of the 1970s band BREAD--or of something from Andrew Lloyd-Weber's Phantom of the Opera. (9/10)

Total Time 39:50

First disc: 4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. Special Ltd Edition Bonus CD: 1. "Vyraj" (5:32) a lively pagan folk romper in the vein of many of the more recent circle dances of FAUN. Mostly instrumental but some nice shifts in the soundscape along the way. (9/10)

2. "Hylophobia" (3:20) the heavier, almost rockin' side of mariuz cannot be denied (he's done it for far too long with Riverside). Add the folk percussion instruments and you have an aggressive almost folk music similar to that of Ivar Bhørnson and Einar Selvik on their 2018 Viking folk masterpiece, Hugsjá. (A little more drum reliant than Ivar and Einar's work.) (8.5/10)

3. "Transition II" (27:45) opens with the very familiar breathy synth sounds from the opeing of Marius' 2010 epic "Transitions" from Lunatic Soul's second album, II. Added intstruments and sounds show early on that Mariuz is definitely developing this version quite differently than the original. At the four-minute mark the addition of a fuzzy guitar to the layers signals a completely new direction and, within the minute, we have moved completely into the territory made familiar by MIKE OLDFIELD. Is this further confirmation that Mariuz has caught the Mike Oldfield Syndrome in which an artist gets lured into the pattern of going back and redoing, remixing, or refreshing old songs/ideas? The section here from the seven-minute mark sounds exactly like something from the mind (and discography) of Mike Oldfield. At 12:30 we begin to move out of Mike Oldfield territory as two guitars, bass and synth wash enter a more New Age soundscape. (I know one of Mariuz' heroes is Vangelis.) In the eighteenth minute, then, we move over into the more relaxing, bluesy side of the 21st Century New Age psychedelia--like a cross of old Pink Floyd with At 20:50 Mariuz starts a whole new song with vocalise, and a catchy multi-chord progression strummed by his electric guitar. This is cool. This is a difficult song to rate because of its multiple themes and palette choices. In the 26th minute, Mellotron like vocal banks introduce a kind of Gregorian-chant version of the original sound scape complete with a long decaying synth finish. (47.5/55)

Total Time 36:37

With bonus material = B+/four stars; still an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you are A) a lover of Mariuz Duda's voice and B) you like the pagan folk vibe á la FAUN and WARDRUNA.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. While I don't have the previous album "Under The Fragmented Sky"(which is the lowest rated of the bunch on here) this 2020 release is my least favourite of the six studio albums I own by LUNATIC SOUL. Duda the RIVERSIDE frontman is doing it all by himself for the first time which sadly means the INDUKTI drummer is not participating which is a first. I would call this recording a pagan folk album which really isn't my thing. That back cover with the women doing the "Summoning Dance" is part of that of course. The music is pretty much acoustic guitar and Duda's vocals. The latter I never tire of but not being a big folk fan is keeping me from giving this that fourth star. My favourite record from LUNATIC SOUL is 2014's "Walking On A Flashlight Beam".

"Navvie" is the catchy and folky opener at 4 minutes in length. Some energy here as vocals and strummed guitar lead the way. "The Passage" at 9 minutes is more of the same with the vocals and acoustic guitar but we do get some atmosphere and at 5 1/2 minutes it turns surprisingly heavy with organ and more. It does let up after 7 minutes but stays intense. The title track opens and closes with acoustic guitar and atmosphere but I like when the vocals arrive at 2 1/2 minutes along with the bass.

"Oblivion" is another one with some energy with acoustic guitar and percussion sounds. Vocal expression then singing before 2 minutes. "Summoning Dance" is the longest at ten minutes and there's some uplifting moments and such a warm sound at times. I like this one. The closer "The Fountain" is melancholic with acoustic guitar and vocals but both will step aside late for the piano.

Man 2020 was a tough year for me, one of the worst in a long, long time. Sure we got some quality music but no depth of that. I enjoyed this one but it's down the list a ways when it comes to favourites for 2020.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Released back in November, Through Shaded Woods is the 7th album of Lunatic Soul, the progressive rock/metal side-project of Mariusz Duda, vocalist and bass player of Polish prog-metallers Riverside. Since its inception in 2008, Duda has always used Lunatic Soul as a vehicle for releasing the more e ... (read more)

Report this review (#2487193) | Posted by lukretio | Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who does not know Mariusz DUDA, this champion of Prog music, this singer with a divine voice, this brilliant multi-instrumentalist and composer? I hear it said here and there that it could be the new STEVEN WILSON as his talent is monumental! LUNATIC SOUL has been his solo project since 2008 as he e ... (read more)

Report this review (#2477599) | Posted by RelayerFr | Thursday, November 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars LUNATIC SOUL, side-project of the singer-bassist from Riverside has been exploring soft, soaring tones with synths backing since 2008; this 7th album transports us to a Scandinavian or Irish folk universe come to lend a hand; no electro here rough which he plays alone, looking to the past-futur ... (read more)

Report this review (#2477101) | Posted by alainPP | Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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