So close and yet so far away, mysterious and unknowable for most of our existence, the Moon has exerted as strong a pull on human imagination as it has on the tides. With its reflected light waxing and waning, it alternately casts the night into deepest darkness and illuminates it with a ghostly pallor, spawning tales of night terrors and visions of things beyond the material plane. And for millennia, it has been associated with madness (there is a reason why the words “lunatic” and “lunacy” are derived from the moon’s Latin name, luna).
The debut album, Genesis, by the Scottish black metal band Lunar Mantra brought all these thoughts to mind, and not just because of the band’s name. In many ways, the album captures the mystery and the powerful influence of our closest celestial neighbor on our imaginations — as well as its link with madness. Genesis is indeed “a nightside odyssey through the formless void”, as one press description has it — a disorienting and arcane experience that proves to be spellbinding.