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Album Review

San Francisco black metal band Ludicra stand out from their peers not just because of their membership — having women as lead vocalist and guitarist is rare in the genre — but also because of the adventurousness of their music. Without stretching black metal's parameters to the breaking point, they incorporate dissonance, progressive melodies, and a fuller sound than might be expected in a music known for its willful embrace of lo-fi recording and general primitivism. Ludicra have conventionally beautiful vocal harmonies backing the unearthly growls and howls, they double the electric guitars with jangling acoustic ones, and the drummer frequently abandons blastbeats for intricate patterns that wouldn't have seemed out of place on a prog rock album. Some songs, like "Clean White Void," are built around almost conventional hard rock riffs, and the solos are classically metallic in a Judas Priest/Iron Maiden vein. Of course, none of that should imply that they can't tear it up when they want to — album opener "Stagnant Pond" is quite pretty, but "A Larger Silence" is as ferocious as anything by Mayhem or Darkthrone. This dichotomy between savagery and refinement is at the core of Ludicra's music, and this disc is a peak for them.


Formed: 1999 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The San Francisco-based quintet Ludicra specializes in straight-ahead black metal (i.e., no gothic keyboards, pagan folk influences, or electronic leanings) in a style influenced by bands such as Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Dodheimsgard, and Bethlehem. The group formed in 1999 and consists of guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers of Misfortune and the Lord Weird Slough Feg), guitarist/vocalist Christy Cather, bassist Ross Sewage (also of Impaled and formerly of Exhumed), vocalist Laurie Sue Shanaman, and drummer...
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Tenant, Ludicra
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