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Lux Occulta - The Mother and the Enemy CD (album) cover

THE MOTHER AND THE ENEMY

Lux Occulta

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.30 | 14 ratings

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CassandraLeo
5 stars This is quite literally the most unpredictable album I've heard in extreme metal, to the point where some of it doesn't even qualify as metal at all - three tracks are far more likely to be classified as trip-hop than as any form of metal I've even heard, and even on the "metallic" numbers you'll find digressions into techno, jazz, or spoken word.

A lot of people only know Lux Occulta (Latin for "hidden light") as "that side project of Martin and Vogg from Decapitated." This is a shame, because while Decapitated are unquestionably one of the best straight-up death metal acts recording today, Lux Occulta record music of a complexity and intensity that puts even that band's repertoire to shame. My Guardian Anger was a simmering, unholy slab of progressive black metal the likes of which has seldom been heard before and is unlikely to be heard again for quite some time, and this album takes its blueprint and expands on it in every direction imagineable.

Lux Occulta have always been one of the more experimental black metal acts out there, but this album comes as a complete shock upon first listen. It doesn't get much easier on subsequent listens, either; this is difficult subject matter the band are treating here. The mother of the title is Mother Nature, and the enemy is the human race. Several tracks explicitly detail the disintegration of the planet, featuring horrors Biblical in scope of humanity's own making. The music is suitably dark to match, even for Lux Occulta; while My Guardian Anger and previous efforts contained considerable amounts of melodicism for a band this heavy, this album eschews melody almost entirely. The music is more complex than before, as well; Lux Occulta have firmly planted themselves in the math-metal camp of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah et al. with this release, to the point where it becomes clear why they've had such difficulty finding a replacement drummer (percussionist Kriss departed after this record): there are very few people who could play this music.

If anything is in danger of sinking the record, it's the diversity of the tracks here, but after repeated listens the song order begins to make a bit more sense. Unquestionably the highlight of the album, and possibly of the band's entire career, is "Missa Solemnis," which is as good of a career summary as I can imagine for the band's trajectory thus far; other choice cuts include "Mother Pandora," "Architecture," and the three trip-hop numbers (namely, "Yet Another Armageddon," "Midnight Crisis," and "Breathe Out"), which are excellent. I would recommend starting with My Guardian Anger, which might be a stronger record, but this album should not be overlooked. Just don't expect to comprehend it after one listen, or even ten.

(Review originally written for Last.FM and later posted at Metal Archives)

CassandraLeo | 5/5 |

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