13 Songs, 31 Minutes


About Lustre

Sweden's Lustre is the one-man atmospheric/ambient black metal studio project of Nachtzeit (given name Henrik Sunding). Perhaps the music's most notable aspect is in breaking with black metal tradition by using vintage keyboards and analog synthesizers instead of relying so heavily on buzzing guitars and blastbeat drums. It has also been described as "negative minimalism."

Sunding formed Lustre in 2008 after his tenures with Hypothermia and the Burning ended. Lustre's debut EP, Serenity, consisting of two tracks and clocking in at nearly 22 minutes, was privately issued in an edition of 150 copies. The full-length Night Spirit was released by De Tenebrarum Principio a year later, offering a fine snapshot of the direction the project was heading. Consisting of two 20-minute-plus tracks simply titled "Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2," it was rich in darkened atmosphere and lyric themes dealing with nature and pagan spirituality, hallmarks that have been consistent ever since. That same year, a one-track demo, "Neath the Black Veil" was moody, eerie, raw black metal in which continuous loops of ghostly keyboard tones were attenuated by repetitive, fingerpicked, tremolo-laden electric guitar. The two-part EP Welcome Winter was also issued and appealed to critics on websites and in fanzines. Even higher praise was awarded to two successive full-lengths, the three-track A Glimpse of Glory in 2010 (specially notated for its nearly electro keyboard lines) and the half-vocal, half-instrumental four-track album They Awoke to the Scent of Spring in 2012 (along with a split single with Feigur). The next year, Nachtzeit assembled and released the compilation Lost in Lustrous Night Skies to universal acclaim from the metal press; they embraced Lustre as a seemingly vanguard project even in underground extreme music circles. 2013 was a prolific year, as the lone 18-minute track, A Spark of Times of Old EP, and a limited split single with Aus der Transzendenz on I, Voidhanger Records were released. 2014's Through the Oceans to the Stars split album with Elderwind was especially notable for its juxtaposition of Tangerine Dream-esque late-'70s sequencers and Depeche Mode-esque gothic pop darkness.

Lustre signed with Nordvis Produktion for the single "'Neath Rock and Stone," a single that featured the lone track "Blossom, Pt. 3" -- an early preview of the following year's album. With 2015's Phantom EP and Blossom album, Lustre went back to the suite-like constructions of earlier years, though the sound shifted to embrace an almost Alcest-like melodicism. The latter, a four-part untitled suite, was almost cinematic in scope with its pronounced guitar chords layered behind wafting, sad synths and other keyboards, basic drums beats, and loops. Lustre closed the year with the one-cut Nestle Within EP.

Throughout it all, word continued to spread about Lustre's unique, melancholic, and beautiful sound. Even apart from the heavy metal press, Nachtzeit's digital and streaming profile rose exponentially, raking in hundreds of thousands of views on social media and streaming and digital sales that far exceeded all previous sales. In late 2017, Lustre issued Still Innocence, an album combined with a bonus EP of unreleased material entitled Forest Wanderer. While the album's songs offered even more intricate layers of instrumentation, distorted whispered vocals, and uplifting atmospherics, it was the EP, comprised entirely of keyboards and programming, that drew the most attention for its engagement with crossover classical and ambient music. The sound displayed on both were combined on the 12-minute digital single "The First Snow," issued in February of the following year. The seeming optimistic shift in lyric concern was born out by a more majestic musical profile and the lyrics to the song's lone verse: "Embrace this innocent beginning/To a chapter of woe and wonder/A night all dressed in white/The first snow...a token of curiosity." ~ Thom Jurek