I discovered the Lithuanian band Luctus for the first time at the end of July, reveling in the power of their last album (2013’s Stotis) and writing about a few of the songs (here). At that time, news was beginning to spread about their next release, a concept album named Ryšys (which means “connection”).
In mid-August an advance track from the album became available for listening — one named “Kvantinis šuolis” — and it proved to be as exhilarating as what I’d heard on Stotis. Now, the album has just been released by Inferna Profundus Records and the entirety of it has become available for streaming.
I’m very high on this record. It brings with a vengeance what many of us want first and foremost in black metal — cold, calculating savagery — but it does that with a powerfully heavy weight in the riffs and the kind of deep vocal growls more often found in death metal (along with skin-tearing shrieks, effective clean vocals, and even throat-singing!).
In addition, the music generates a frigid, malevolent atmosphere — it’s not hard to imagine the fog of wolf breath as the pack races through a snowscape after escaping prey that’s not long for this world.
While the riffs and the thundering rhythm section do indeed hit with teeth-rattling power, the band work variations in the tempo that keep you on your toes — moving from blistering, turbocharged thrash assaults, to d-beat-fueled, punk-influenced romps, to ominous, dirge-like processionals. And without losing the overarching (and often occult) aura of dread and devastation that the band create throughout the album, they’ve also spiced the music with dismal lead-guitar melodies, eerie electronic tones, and superheated, head-spinning solos.
The album is full of moments when Luctus strike with huge, pulverizing grooves that compel headbanging, and plenty of others when they come at you like a massive tank attack, and all you can do is prepare to be flattened by the rampage. It’s a huge powerhouse of a record, both crushing and riveting, and for all its terrible ferocity, quite memorable.
Perhaps because I heard it before the rest of the album, “Kvantinis šuolis” is probably still my favorite song on the album, but they are all very, very good, and there’s enough variation among them that the album keeps your attention fixed from beginning to end. A very strong release from a band who are mature, savvy songwriters as well as excellent performers. Don’t miss it.
Ryšys is available for listening on both Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and because I’m not sure which is most convenient for most people, I’ve included both of the players below, along with a new video for the song “KBMB”. The album can be downloaded via Bandcamp or ordered on CD. For more info about that, check the links below.
The band are also about to embark on a tour in support of the album, and the schedule for that as it now stands can also be found below.