(Nordvis Produktion, 2017)
#FOR FANS OF: Black Ambient
Sometimes it's a nice change of pace to listen to something airy, inoffensive, and so unusually out of place that it inhabits a world of its own. Nachzeit's one-man offering of a pretty atmosphere through 'Still Innocence' is just that sort of float of a feather down a chasm of sunlight that embraces the serenity of its delicate descent into the shadows.
Through lovely and ethereal waves of ambient noise with drums hidden behind quiet keyboard synth in “Dreaded Still”, a calming meditative track paints happy clouds of humming atmospheric fuzz across a full and entrancing soundscape, open to a calm and sweet whistling tune as it softly steps its way through the winds. Sometimes a sound can easily become the theme to a season and I can already sense this song becoming a major contender for what my mental jukebox will spin in this autumn's retrospect.
There is truly somber and melancholic beauty in each song. Guitars are held so far back in the mix that they sound like distant pulsing waves of rainfall, ushered by heaves of wind to hammer a puddle before allowing the noise to give way to steady and sometimes interminable drips. Even more distant, whispers and drowning screams can barely be heard as they gently breathe between squalls of grain-falls. This album is sappy and weepy, nostalgic and mesmerizing, lonely and longing, and all encapsulated in simply beautiful sound that, sadly, overstays its welcome.
While “Dreaded Still” can catch the ear, the compositional style shows its standardization quickly enough by the second track, “Nestled Within”. Lustre shows its quality production and maintains a momentum that can go easily ignored as background music in “Let Go Like Leaves of Fall”. Still, this music is entrancing while simultaneously unimposing and a calming accouterment to a solitary walk or to rainy day spent immersed in a book. While the opening of the album with “Dreaded Still” is energetic enough to be reimagined as a techno song, by the time you get to “Reverence Road”, the soundscape has turned into elevator music playing in a 1980s shopping mall at the height of Madonna's fame. I like the moments that remind me of immersive role-playing video games, like the Final Fantasy style opening to “Without End”, but at the end of the day this album of sappy sounds runs its course long before the music ends. Lustre holds its atmospheres hostage when they could have been allowed to run free through the listener's memory before becoming an annoyance. Instead these lingering songs refuse to leave, losing their luster to the apathy of a listener that is left begging for the album to end rather than begging for more.
As the music seems to offer more than it needed in respect to song length, the droning melodies and repetitious drum beats become a halfhearted white noise. I was hoping that maybe there would be some explanation of the songs, some literature to expound upon what may be in Nachzeit's head while composing this music, but there are only snippets of scant stanzas to bring reason to this repetition. The stanzas for “Dreaded Still” and “Nestled Within” aren't very alluring. The wordplay to the stanza for “Reverence Road” is nice enough, but again this is such maddeningly unintrusive substance that it has me asking why the rest of this album even exists after the opening track.
I'm left scratching my head as to just what any of this album was supposed to accomplish and how this lines up with any characteristics of black metal other than a nearly inaudible hiss of what may be guitars in the background. I don't hate this music but I've quickly become bored of it. I'm left a little confused as to where to place this album, but the worst that I could ever react to this is with ambivalence. Lustre's 'Still Innocence' is a meditation tape or white noise sleep album, it's the speck of dust illuminated by a ray of sunshine that passes unnoticed until that certain hour of the afternoon, and that's just fine enough when you're not hoping for much more.