Lęk - Shadows of Black Souls - (8/10)
Published on July 25, 2017
Shadows of Black Souls, the sophomore full length from Poland’s Lęk, comes three years after their debut album. Working again with Wolfspell Records, this latest offering sees the band expanding their sound while remaining true to their roots. Lęk’s sound could best be described as straddling the line between charging, melodic black metal and lush atmospheric black metal. The resulting music is both vividly nostalgic and enthrallingly exciting.
Lęk’s foundation is built upon a very Polish sound, calling to mind the likes of Mgła, Furia, and Non Opus Dei, though they bring their own interpretation; though, not surprisingly, Nihil (of Furia fame) mixed and mastered the album. Clearly the trem driven melodies and mesmerizing riffing of Mgła’s M. are a huge inspiration, as the same nihilistic yet melodic approach is utilized, though Lęk’s dual guitarists nimbly weave lead runs, winding minor key patterns, and trilling, harmonized trails into the suffocating black metal standards. The drums and bass are stellar, offering a steady, no frills approach, yet never missing a beat or forcing the transitions.
Despite all of its harrowing subject matter, Shadows of Black Souls is a rather uplifting album. Perhaps it’s the underlying melodies and lead riffs that border on the exuberant at times or just the fact that one can feel the amount of effort that was placed into constructing each note. Sure, everyone immediately points to Mgła and Furia as the front runners of the Polish black metal, and with good reason, but, hot damn, Lęk has certainly become a band to keep an eye on. It’s an album that is highly atmospheric yet not to the point of losing power; full of mesmerizing trem-laden melodies though without losing any of its blackened edge.