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Lutemkrat - "The Last Survivor" (CD)

Lutemkrat - "The Last Survivor" CD cover image

"The Last Survivor" track listing:

1. Intro: Arising (0:57)
2. Silent Death (4:55)
3. The Last Survivor (8:03)
4. Vengeance (7:12)
5. Awaiting The Final Breath (7:30)
6. Journey Through Inner Landscapes (6:52)
7. Grieving Over The Dead (4:59)
8. Outro: Surviving (2:18)

Reviewed by on July 8, 2008

"Lutemkrat has produced an album that reverberates with passion and offers an unquestionable listenability"

As a one-man black metal act, Wolf Lutemkrat hoists himself among rather elite company with the likes of Burzum and Xasthur. And yet, “The Last Survivor” is really a conglomeration of black metal stylings, in which these extreme acts meet the epic work of more melodic Norwegian acts.

An Enslaved-influenced intro and outro carry us from peaceful euphony to muted guitars -- and it should be noted that the guitar work is probably the most pleasing aspect of this presentation. These contrast predictably with the atonal black voice that Wolf projects over his music.

Far from Brazil, a slowing of drums and emphasis on the bass cause “Silent Death” to linger into a somber Immortal-like exploration of the north. Wolf’s voice becomes quite appropriate at this juncture, echoing robotically across the frozen wastelands of his creation, grating across the consistently agreeable playing. “The Last Survivor” steams things up with some blast beating drums, which really come to the fore as guitars lap over their crashing and draw the sound into a bleak melody. The breakdowns are beautiful and intelligently thought-out, so the title track can truly cause the listener to later reminisce on this rather Burzum-like achievement.

The pounding drums of “Vengeance” drive the moodiness forward, expelling a bit more of Lutemkrat’s previously hinted-at emotion/ The drums give way to some acoustic guitars, which at first instill a creepy sound to the music, but the Spanish guitar thoroughly detracts from everything. Fortunately, it wasn’t utilized for long. This song is quite fantastic, laden with a dark thoughts, and the heightened energy keeps it from sounding too much like the earlier songs.

“Awaiting The Final Breath” takes a stance of prominent riffing and louder guitars, but wanders off a bit in its repetitiousness. The pensive instrumental arrangements towards the end of the song are probably the only enjoyable portion of it. “Journey through Inner Landscapes” puts forth a technique of clean, quiet vocals on the music toward the middle of the song before descending into an acoustic reverie and then crashing back to classic black -- a perfect, crowd-stirring finale.

“Grieving Over The Dead” winds up sounding more like the earlier tracks, with a distant, shrieking voice, and gets a bit lost again before fading out entirely with those normal guitars, which just seem silly at this point, and nobody likes a weak ending.

Wolf Lutemkrat has certainly put forth an interesting “study” on the realm of 90’s black metal, generally switching up his attack often enough to sustain an interest, yet he would be well-advised to diversify from his forerunners a bit more. To conclude simply, “The Last Survivor” is hardly a piece of metal among the likes of Tsjuder and is not likely to achieve the patronage of older fans of the Scandinavian black scene. At the same time, Wolf Lutemkrat has produced an album that reverberates with passion and offers an unquestionable listenability. He’s already strained for something of a black metal diversity, so we may yet see an increased appeal for this one-man band.

Highs: Solid instrumentation and an exploration of black metal styles contribute to a good listening experience.

Lows: The music is somewhat inconsistent, plus Wolf's voice can be a little unnerving if it's not your thing.

Bottom line: Black metal fans won't regret a listen, particularly with the solid musicianship, but be forewarned that "The Last Survivor" isn't going to stick with you for time immemorial.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)