Night Shall Drape Us - Lunatic Choir

Night Shall Drape Us is a rather new band that just sprung up back in 2023 by LHR who is known for his work in many bands like Horna and Deathchain among others. A multi instrumentalist, he handles all the songwriting for this group and the instrumentation while his brother Spellgoth performs the vocals along with Infection and Wraath for a rather modern take on Black Metal that is similar to the vein of Merrimack, Marduk, and even Satyricon. While not blistering and raw like Judas Iscariot nor cold and wintery like Immortal or early Darkthrone, Night Shall Drape Us found its home with Season of Mist Underground for a mix of accessible fast to mid paced songs that is a mixed bag of sub genres that work well for anyone who enjoys the Black Metal genre as a whole (except maybe elitists). The album is vicious, but an enjoyable type of vicious that doesn’t leave one feeling blasted or uncomfortable after hearing it. It won’t jar ones’ ears like Deathspell Omega nor leave them hanging with lengthy ambient outros or intros like Leviathan, it just delves right in.

Opening softly with some unique melodies like that of more recent Dark Funeral, things pick up after a bit with the familiar tremolo picking and drum blasting on ‘Hymn of Rebellion.’ One of the faster tracks on the album, LHR rips his way through with skill while the vocalists deliver their mix of snarls and growls. Almost like a more Black Metal version of Behemoth, Night Shall Drape us uses the more Marduk toned roar amidst the growls and avoids the typical higher pitched shrieks. However, the coldness of the riffs can still be heard in tribute to the mid 90s despite clean production, so that nod to Darkthrone is certainly not lost. It is on ‘Ethereal Constrictor’ that “Lunatic Choir” really starts to get its stride. A bit more groove laden and almost Black n’ Roll Satyricon styled, there is a lot more thump to this track and more variety in the riffs and pace, also touching on melodies similar to that of Old Man’s Child (minus the symphonics). Yet, the added clean vocals do the job of enhancing atmosphere and replacing the symphonic elements, so Night Shall Drape us still stick the harsher side of the genre without the fluff of keyboard or orchestra. ‘Unification’ also adds in more vocal variety with shouted spoken verses, so fans get more of the other members’ touches (though with all three of the vocalists doing both harsh and clean it is hard to attribute who does what, but when layered together, they sound pretty awesome). Layered vocals is nothing new to the genre when you consider Arioch of Funeral Mist does it all the time, but it sounds more ‘human and live’ when you have 3 vocalists doing it instead of one.

The title track is probably the best example of what a modern straightforward Black Metal track should be. Catchy melodies within the riffs that stick with the head while still remaining harsh while using a variety of vocal styles together while still playing somewhat fast so that distortion ‘hiss’ is somewhat there gives a side of Black Metal that is enjoyable to hear rather than be reviled. While certainly a little more mainstream and accessible but not quite on the Dimmu Borgir level, this track will probably appeal to almost any (insert genre) Metal fan out there, so try listening to this one for one to get a feel for the band overall. There is the single closing ‘The Queen of the Red Streams’ that brings back the softer melodies of the opening track, but it doesn’t quite capture the variety of the title track, but moreso the Death/ Black hybrid of Behemoth that is popular these days. For those who want faster, more in your face Black Metal like older Dark Funeral, ‘Under the Dead Sky’ is a great choice.

Overall, while this may feel like LHR’s ‘band’ and the influences of his other projects are strewn throughout this album with plenty of Finnish Black Metal glory, “Lunatic Choir” is special mostly due to the unique approach of the three vocalists. While it may not seem they do much, they bring the other half of this excellent Black Metal release full circle for a somewhat fast, but not too overdone debut from Night Shall Drape Us and should easily contend for one of the top Black Metal albums of 2024. While not a blatantly evil piece of work, this release- like Satyricon’s “Rebel Extravaganza”- still takes that ‘evil’ sense that is sensualized by media and history from Black Metal but delivers it in a thoughtful but not too abstract way. Does it scream worship Satan? No. Does it scream some aspects of Satanism? Sure. But overall the album is one of those gems that are musically and lyrically good despite the overuse of corpsepaint and blood and black shirts that are glorified by the likes of Gorgoroth or Marduk and as a result somewhat made fun of as much as they are revered. Anyone who wants to get into a straightforward modern Black Metal album will want to give “Lunatic Choir” a listen and be impressed.

5 / 5 STARS

1. Hymn Of Rebellion
2. Dead Eden
3. Ethereal Constrictor
4. Ashes Of Men
5. Unification
6. Lunacy And Horror
7. Under The Dead Sky
8. The Queen Of The Red Streams