LUX OCCULTA – Kołysanki
After thirteen years of silence, LUX OCCULTA return with their fifth studio release titled Kołysanki. The Polish metal act began as a black metal group but later evolved into more of an extreme avant-garde project. Most bands with such a long silence end up crumbling apart but in this case, they can return with a much more evolved and different sound, as if being reborn into a new entity.
If someone had told you in 1996 that eighteen years later Lux Occulta would be playing a surreal form of avant-garde metal, you probably wouldn’t believe them yet here they are after a thirteen year period of silence, doing just that. A few of the previous ideas Lux Occulta left off with on The Mother And The Enemy are still present if you listen closely but for the most part they’ve been thrown out the window and what’s left is something completely new and different. Right from the start with “Dymy,” the album establishes ground in a heavy synth atmosphere with groovy beats and rhythms accentuated by unique percussion and vocals (in Polish) that intertwine between charismatic singing and spoken word, utilizing both greatly.
This album has plenty going on throughout it musically and even though Kołysanki more or less sits in this pseudo techno metal, it’s still very difficult to put a label on it because of the large degree of genre-defying instrumentations both within and amongst its tracks. “Samuel Wraca Do Domu,” for example, with its use of sax, double bass, and organ, sounds more like a jazz piece from the early 1900s and when the metal elements come into it, it becomes even more unique and bizarre. Other tracks such as “Karawanem Fiat,” take a bit of a neoclassical approach with acoustic guitar work that would delight flamenco listeners.
Kołysanki is definitely not easy listening and you probably won’t entirely “understand it” on your first or even your second listen. With this album, Lux Occulta have crafted something truly original and majestic. It is a blend of personalities, creativity, and influences, where the album’s eccentricity is part of what makes it so alluring and its multi-layered atmosphere is part of what will attract listeners to wanting to perceive it more. It’s structured and it’s chaotic, it’s jazzy and it’s electronic, it’s simple, but it’s also complex, in a series of musical paradoxes that make it both an extremely intriguing but also an extremely challenging album to digest. And that’s exactly what makes it so amazing.