Review: Lustmord ‘Much Unseen Is Also Here’

Lustmord aka Brian Williams, has been making music for over forty years and seeing as I gave a synopsis of his musical career in my review of 2022’s superb The Others I don’t think there’s a need to repeat myself here.

However, one thing I had omitted to mention is his recording moniker, Lustmord, is a reference to a painting tradition in Weimar era Germany known as ‘sex murder’, in which artists such as Otto Dix and George Grosz depicted scenes of rape and mutilated female bodies that captured the nihilism in Europe between world wars (Wikipedia)… you’re welcome.

Lustmord 'Much Unseen Is Also Here' Artwork
Lustmord ‘Much Unseen Is Also Here’ Artwork

Compared to the sprawling The Others set, Much Unseen Is Also Here looks a more condensed affair, with the record echoing the narrative set by 1990’s Heresy, an album which to this day is rightfully regarded as a classic within the Dark Ambient genre.

Even before a note of music is heard, Wayne Barlowe‘s eye-catching artwork arrests your attention. This chap was the painter, game and film concept artist on Avatar, Pacific Rim and Hellboy 1 & 2 so this shouldn’t prove too surprising. Said artwork offers the record a Wagnerian grandeur that is brilliantly highlighted further by Behold A Voice As Thunder. Somewhat reminiscent of Basil Poledouris’ work on the Conan The Barbarian soundtrack, this makes for a fantastically dramatic opener.

Entrails Of The God Machine offers up something otherworldly and celestial but one which is subtly tempered by real world distractions such as the sound of a telephone and dial-up internet. A commentary on our reliance and/or servitude to technology (aka the god machine) perhaps, a sublime piece nonetheless.

gorgeous shards of drone…

In Metal: A Headbangers Journey, producer Bob Ezrin mentioned the use of dark classical music as a point of origin for the genre. An Angel Dissected sounds both terrifying and heavy without a Marshall stack in sight, proving Ezrin right. Although classically influenced, it is more along the lines of minimalist composers such as La Monte Young, albeit filtered through Earth 2 while A Shadow Cast Upon The Deep serves up more gorgeous shards of drone that can be seen as a continuation of the preceding track, albeit one which employs the metallic sheen of early Sunn O))).

Invocation Of The Nameless One lends an altogether different texture to the album with its distinctly ambient vibes that recall the late, great Klaus Schulz as well as the universal expansiveness of Brian Eno and his Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks era. A welcome respite to the record’s otherwise dominant bleakness while Their Souls Asunder features full-on Gregorian style chanting adding what is a spiritual, one could say even human, element to proceedings.

Hence Shall They Be Devoured All of Them, the longest number on the album at over fourteen minutes is mournful, a sense of hopelessness omnipresent hinted at not just in name but also sonically. The bell toll heard at various points is as English poet John Donne wrote about a signifier of the death of yet another human life, a toll for each of us. A majestic epic. Present on Other Woes Are Yet To Come is a sole violin, a desperate cry in the wilderness, emerging from amongst the fog. An appropriate conclusion to an overwhelmingly downbeat affair.

The promotional notes mention the need to listen to the album in a single, uninterrupted sitting and I can readily affirm this to be the case; Lustmord‘s work is as much about the feelings Williams evokes in the music as it is about the music itself. An excellent addition to an already sterling body of work.

Label: Pelagic Records
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Scribed by: Reza Mills