Luctus initially started out as a one-man project in 2001. Over the years, other members joined in, making Luctus a full-blown live act. Hailing from Lithuania, this fierce combo is ready to dominate the European extreme metal scene with their thrash induced black metal. The sound is solid, massive, the songs are intense and there's plenty of variation. On the other hand, it's mostly a brutal album.
Luctus has no need for intros or enormous atmospheric keyboard passages (although they don't completely cast them out). No sir, Luctus simply smashes a massive wall-of-sound in your face. From the very beginning of 'Šmėkla', this horde rolls over the listener, with remorse it seems. Strange enough however, this wall-of-sound creates a perfect atmosphere for the album. It's equally dark and eerie as traditional black metal of Darkthrone or Immortal while still providing that awesome sound of bands like Altar Of Plagues or Aluk Todolo.
The album title 'Ryšys' has a double meaning. On one hand it means 'to seek a connection to another world, space or dimension, outside of the material world' while on the other hand it translates as 'a close relationship with something or someone you can't see'. As if the deceased lords of black metal inspire the young, promising bands to come up with something new and refreshing. In that aspect, Luctus certainly succeeded in their mission.
Highlights on this album are 'Kvantinis šuolis' and the post-black masterpiece 'Jie'. Although, I can't find any song which is inferior to the others. All fit perfectly within the concept and overall sound of the album and all of them are varied enough to remain enjoyable. That being said, there's a lot of variation in tempo, from hauntingly slow passages over mid-tempo thrashers to skull crushing blast-beats. Combine that with an hypnotic sound and the result is simply amazing.
This is one of those albums that build a bridge between the different waves of black metal. Clearly inspired by the Scandinavian wave as well as nineties thrash, Luctus looks forward into the future and occupy their niche within the modern day post-black metal scene. By the end, they even borrow some symphonic elements from the more goth-orientated version of the genre, making 'NKRKTHRSS' a perfect closer for this brilliant album. So yes, this comes highly recommended for any black metal fan, that's for fucking sure...