Lemuria’s latest album, The Hysterical Hunt, is something of the auditory manifestation of a Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. Lemuria harnessed elements of fantasy (largely bolstered by song titles such as ‘An Elusive Monster’, ‘As Darkness Falls’, and ‘A Plague Upon the Land’) and wrapped it in a dark mysticism to create an intriguing hybrid of imagination with the classic tropes of metal.
The Hysterical Hunt’s title track is a perfect manifestation of this. It opens with the sounds of a woman being chased by a growling creature – almost like a sinister version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Though this is startling upon the initial listen – after all, the sounds of a dangerous chase scene aren’t exactly something a listener would expect to hear on a metal record – it works because it evokes emotion. By catching the ear off guard, it subsequently grabs its attention. The listener is automatically pulled into the narrative that the song crafts. With each growl and resulting scream, the heart rate of the listener quickens. Questions instantaneously fill the mind: will the woman be okay? Will someone come to her aid? Will we learn her fate by the end of the song? If not, will the characters of the creature and the woman being chased appear in other tracks? As a result, the opening sound effects of ‘The Hysterical Hunt’ triggers the same parts of our brain that give us the urge to turn to the final page of an exciting novel, merely to satisfy our natural quest for information and closure. Where the listening experience on this particular track diverges from this, however, is that the listener almost cannot skip to the end, no matter how intrigued they may be about what it stores. This is because the storytelling element of the track is embedded in what can only be described as a powerful sonic display, and the same can be said about nearly every track on the album as well.
‘An Elusive Monster’ is another example of this that is worthy of mention. It begins with an enchanting choral performance before the music evolves into something more symphonic and sinister. Though the track is entirely instrumental, it still possesses an ability to craft a narrative. The heightened intensity of the music as the track progresses indicates that something – and something that is not good – has happened or is arriving.
The Hysterical Hunt is a deliciously dark tale set to music that is a fine example of what makes metal, as a genre, so beloved. Gripping and intense, it’s well worth a listen.
Out now via Massacre Records.