LAMP OF MURMUUR
SUBMISSION AND SLAVERY
BLACK GANGRENE, 2021
Lamp of Murmuur appeared out of thin air a couple years back and instantly became one of my favorite new black metal projects; their music is melodic but doesn't hold back from the rawness and intensity that defines black metal and—unlike most metal bands—the eerie ambient interludes don't feel like useless filler. (Their dungeon synth album Cursed Deambulations of the Nocturnal Entities should be a Halloween staple.)
On da Lamp's new album, Submission and Slavery, they drop some new herbs in the cauldron: 80s goth rock and post-punk. The artwork pays homage to The Sisters of Mercy's Floodlands and the album closes with a Christian Death cover. "Dominatrix's Call" is the most overtly goth song on Submission, with a four-on-the-floor drum beat, steady bassline, and shimmery clean guitar. I'm a sucker for vocalists performing harsh vocals over a non-metal backing and it works here. There's also a Knopfleresque guitar solo in "Deformed Erotic Visage," a neat little twist that sends me back to "Wandering Ghosts" from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Unfortunately, Submission and Slavery lacks the energy of Lamp of Murmuur's previous releases; distorted guitars are soaked in chorus, giving them a bleared, warbling texture that doesn't work well with tremolo picked chordal melodies. It's the kind of tone you would coax out of a Line 6 Spider in 2004. It may sound like nitpicking, but the mix just doesn't hit the way it should. The songwriting is still there, but a lacklustre guitar tone diminishes an otherwise very good album, and their most accessible to date.
Listen: "Dominatrix's Call"