photo by Marissa Godinez
(On April 28th 20 Buck Spin will release the debut album of Lunar Chamber. As the label says, it offers “a deluge of jarringly brutal metal, overwhelming progressive physicality and instinctively accomplished memorability inspired by Buddhism, the East and esotericism.” It piqued the interest of Comrade Aleks, and he reached out for the interview that follows.)
20 Buck Spin just released two albums by the bizarre and progressive death/black crew Ulthar, and if you scraped your brains off the wall after listening yo their Anthronomicon / Helionomicon albums then here’s another challenge for people of strong spirit and thirsty minds.
Lunar Chamber’s debut EP Shambhallic Vibrations is a concept work of spiritual journey through the sonic plains of all things extreme and progressive. The album was mastered by Colin Marston of Gorguts and mixed by Greg Chandler of Esoteric; these two bands serve as good references to the avant-garde and complex music of Shambhallic Vibrations.
The band’s line-up is Timeworn Nexus (guitars, vocals, programming, songwriting), They, Who May Not Be Perceived (guitars, vocals, songwriting), Æther Lotus (fretless bass), and K. Paradis (drums). Right, the Lunar Chamber crew mostly keeps their anonymity and there’s no information in Metal-Archives yet, but Timeworn Nexus holds few secrets from our readers.
(Thanks to Jan of Sure Shot Worx for organizing the interview.)
Hail Lunar Chamber! First of all, accept my sincere congratulations on the forthcoming release of Shambhallic Vibrations! It’s a colossal work, and it was exciting to hear its first tunes. How do you feel regarding this release? Are you satisfied with the fact what the job is done finally?
Hails, thank you for the kind words. We’ve been ecstatic, very very excited and happy with the response so far.
Little is known about Lunar Chamber and it seems like you aim to keep your personalities anonymous, and yet what’s your background? I won’t believe that it’s your first band.
To be honest we’re actually not an anonymous band; we just have stage names hahah. But you’re correct, this is by far not our first project. We’ve all been in other bands before and as of now such as Tómarúm, The Ritual Aura, Theurgy, Alcyone, Progeny, Proliferation,, and more.
Hah, yes, I see now. How did it happen that you gathered in the name of Lunar Chamber?
I usually take a good amount of time to think of a band name whenever I’m creating a new project. I was looking around for inspiration and remembered that the amazing California Death/Doom band Lycus has a song called “Solar Chamber.” I really liked how those two words sounded together, and so by messing with it a bit I landed on Lunar Chamber.
All of the bands you mentioned are known for their progressive or technical approach. Which benefits does prog grant you? And do you separate “prog” from “technical” metal?
I’m a huge fan of progressive, intriguing, “vast” music, so to speak. Being a huge fan of that allows me to explore different soundscapes, melody, harmony, instruments, arrangements, etc. It gives us even more avenues to create intriguing music. I would separate them, yes, I find anything progressive to be more of an inclusive/umbrella term. If a band is just strictly “tech death” they’re less likely to have clean vocals and synth for example. “Prog death” on the other hand solicits a different response for sure.
What was your vision of the material which turned out to be Shambhallic Vibrations? Did you have a clear concept, in both sound and lyrics, from the beginning?
Our vision was to create something unique in its own right, but that drew influences from different places. A mix of sounds that we hadn’t heard before. The concept was pretty clear from when we started writing the music, however the lyrical themes came later. I had to think about what I wanted to talk about and eventually landed on the East, Buddhism, Hinduism, spirituality, this reality, etc.
Do you feel that you succeeded in this search for uniqueness?
To a certain extent yes. We definitely wear our influences on our sleeves at certain points, but that’s intentional. I don’t think we’ve reinvented the formula or anything, but I don’t think a band has mixed things like we have before, in the way we have.
What do you mean when you say that you had the clear concept yet lyrical themes came later? Did your concept evolve while you were working over these tracks?
Ah I see what you’re saying. I mean the concept in terms of what the music was going to sound like. That was mostly clear at first. It evolved of course to include more influences as time went on, but the lyrics and ideas for those came later.
Which bands helped you shape Lunar Chamber’s sound?
For me personally, definitely Blood Incantation, Chthe’ilist, Demilich, Gorguts, Lykathea Aflame, Voidceremony, and Atramentus. There are more, but those are the main ones for sure.
The first song which represents the album is “Spirit Body And The Seeing Self”. It’s mind-blowing and multilayered, violent and very harmonic at the same time. So here’s the question: how much time did it take to construct the song like this? When did you decide that the composition was complete?
Thank you. The song was written on and off over a 3-year period; from 2018 to 2021. I remember wanting to end the song on the clean chorus, so once we reached that point again after exploring different ideas within the song, I knew we could end it there resolutely.
One of the songs, “The Bodhi Tree”, is a mirroring tale of Gautama Buddha, as the official press-release says. Is Shambhallic Vibrations a concept work? Does Buddha’s teaching serve as a connecting link between all tracks?
I would say yes, it is a concept work. It’s an open-ended story about a journey east in search of enlightenment that contains elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, and spirituality/esotericism in general. I wouldn’t say Buddha’s teachings distinctly connect the tracks, but they serve as a base point for the expansion of the mind and wisdom, etc., that is present in the story.
I see here a kind of contradiction, as Buddhism associates with the calmness of the mind, and it’s better reflected with calmer music naturally. And Lunar Chamber is anything but calm — your music is tense, it stimulates the listener in many ways constantly. So how does the band’s message interact with the music?
I actually never thought about that hahah, that’s interesting. Well, the way I look at it is that the music is very layered, expansive, and progressive, and the themes and music kind of go hand in hand in that way. Spirituality and the East are associated with a lot of different layers of reality, emotion, huge ideas, and the like. I feel like the intensity yet calm of the music in some parts mirrors this. This life and spirituality as well aren’t always calm; sometimes there are storms.
Taking into account the fact that music has been a crucial part of many rituals since the dawn of human civilization, and Buddhism wasn’t an exception, its spiritual influence is something obvious – destructive or constructive is another question. Would you say that your own music helped you in your own searches for enlightenment?
If I’m understanding the question correctly, it’s has this music and the creation of it helped in my search of enlightenment? Well, I’m always craving more knowledge and wanting to know more about everything; a lot of these processes in creating this music, writing, etc., always helps me learn something new.
The songs were mixed by Greg Chandler of Esoteric and mastered by Colin Marston of Gorguts. These two bands seem to be a proper reference to Lunar Chamber’s sound. Did you choose Greg and Colin because you believed that they were the right men who would understand your intentions? How did you collaborate with them?
Absolutely. We’re huge fans of Gorguts, and Kyle (They, Who May Not Be Perceived – Guitars, Vocals) and I have been working with Colin on various projects for years now, mixing/mastering wise. Kyle also recommended Greg of Esoteric to mix the record, as he did one of our favorite records of all time, Chthe’ilist’s Le dernier crépuscule. He’s the mastermind behind Esoteric, a band I had heard of, but hadn’t listened to until recently. They rip. We knew we wanted a huge, vast sound, and the work that both Greg and Colin have done fulfill that vision perfectly. They knocked it out of the park.
Your music is complex and intensive, and I wonder how it might sound live. Will you support the Shambhallic Vibrations with a series of gigs or a small tour? Is it important for you to make Lunar Chamber a live band?
We definitely want to play shows and tour, it just depends on the logistics of it all. We have some plans and ideas in the works, but nothing set in stone just yet. Absolutely important to us to bring these soundscapes and songs live for everyone to experience.
What are your further plans for Lunar Chamber? Do you already have a theme for the next album?
As of now we’re already deep into the writing process for our first full-length LP. Other than that, we’re hoping to start playing shows by the earliest late this year, or at some point next year. Regarding themes, I’ll hold off on spoiling too much, but it’s going to be even bigger and more vast than what we did on the EP. Thank you for having me!