Album: The Hysterical Hunt
Release Date: 18th January 2019
Record Label: Massacre Records
I was introduced to Lemuria by my friend Mike of Vanaheim via a Facebook post, who suggested that everyone should check out The Hysterical Hunt. So of course, I would be a terrible reviewer if I didn’t at least have a listen. I am definitely glad I did.
As with many albums of this style, we begin with an atmospheric intro track. Prologue – The Land of the Beast builds the tension with strings dominating. There is a low male vocal and the instrumental comes to a crescendo before silence, and then piano and some ambient background noise. We then get back the fast paced tension; low male vocals, strings and drums. This track would not be out of place in a fantasy RPG soundtrack. The track ends with a choir, a child whispering, and some off key piano which leaves you ever so slightly on edge.
A Plague Upon the Land immediately starts with the full orchestration, the more traditional metal instruments as well as strings and brass. The vocals are harsh, and the instrumental not only has a fantasy atmosphere, but also is one you can headbang to. It’s a powerful track, and there is a spoken word with a male voice, which continues the story. This is something that reoccurs throughout the album.
A terrified woman screaming, and beastly, horrifying growls introduce the title track. There are clean female vocals and the instrumental is fast paced, there are even blast beats at times. Again we have story telling from the spoken word, and the feel of the track changes towards the end where we have a regal declaration from a King, and this is reflected in the music. Between Man and Wolf builds up the music with guitars, and the instrumental is very string heavy to begin with, but we also get prominent flute/pipes. The female vocals are back, and it’s another track that fuses the fantasy atmosphere with more traditional headbanging metal.
There is a small instrumental interlude with As Darkness Falls. It is simple with strings and piano which increase in volume throughout the short duration. Of Winter and Hell continues the epic and atmospheric theme, but with the piano and strings taking a little more of a backseat. There are faster paced sections with heavy traditional metal instruments, with chugging and blast beats at times, but also interludes with the orchestral instruments dotted about.
A Secret Life brings the orchestral instruments more prominently back into the mix, leading the melody before a guitar solo. The female vocals are more dominant in this track, although for me they don’t seem quite powerful enough at times, personally I would like to heave a bit more power and grit in them. The voice is beautiful, I just feel that it doesn’t quite click with the instrumental sometimes. There are lots of elements to this track however, there are spoken word sections with both male and female voices, magical and calm interludes, lots of brass, string and piano, and the brass, strings and choir sound as though they are building up to something epic.
Deceptive Hibernation is almost chaotic, it is fast paced with strings and organ. The vocals are female soprano and there is a lot of piano. However, it is definitely a headbanging and windmilling track to really get you going. An Elusive Monster is a semi-instrumental track with an ethereal voice, and strings come in and increase in volume throughout the duration.
Endgame – The Impending Truth is almost a full story in itself. It combines heavy metal with strings, and provides an excellent instrumental setting for a battle. The female vocals are back and there is a choir in the background. Once again the spoken word is back and there are strings in the background, speeding up the tempo as the story continues. There are calmer sections before guitar solos and blast beats come in, and this repeats throughout the track.
As with any good story, we (almost) finish with an epilogue. Epilogue – Before The Dawn begins with drums, followed by strings and guitar. It’s a slower paced track, and it makes you feel like you can breathe again, like you’ve been tense for the track preceding this. There is spoken word by the male and female voice, and the track fades out with piano. However, this is not quite the end. A Dream That Never Came is the final track. It’s a more acoustic track with prominent flute/pipes, and female vocals. It’s a track to put your lighters in the air to, and of course to add to the calming feel there are also strings. It’s a calming end to what has been overall quite a dramatic album.
I think I have already found a contender for album of the year. Sometimes when bands add orchestral instruments to their music, it can sound like an afterthought rather than being thought about and completely integrated into the music. Lemuria have done the latter, and I feel that without the addition of the orchestral instruments, there would be a big chunk of the music missing and it wouldn’t feel complete. The Hysterical Hunt reminds me a little of The Walls of Vanaheim by Black Messiah, another album which tells a story, with spoken word interludes progressing the story. The Hysterical Hunt may not do this to the same extent, but it works for the album. It is an album that does need to be listened to in order, the flow is beautiful. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future works by Lemuria. If this album is anything to go by, they will be producing many more amazing works in the future.
Buy Lemuria music and merch: https://lemuriascrypt.bigcartel.com/
Listen to Lemuria on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2azVXciWGipLDP6As95xeY
Follow Lemuria on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lemuria.be/
Lemuria website: http://www.lemuria.be/