Album Review: Lumus – Bacchus’ Curse

LUMUSThis self-released debut offering from Oregon’s Lumus is a sweeping, symphonic concept album very much rooted in the tradition of the likes of Nightwish, Kamelot and Symphony X.

However, unlike most bands of their ilk, this particular quintet’s USP is that their sound is drawn primarily from extensive use of the electric violin, which features prominently throughout: but, unlike many of their European counterparts, who include said instrument merely as an additional piece of over-ornamented orchestration, it is often the violin which takes the lead in building the harmonies and melodies… it’s hardly surprising, though, given that the band take their name from the musician responsible, one Jon Lumus.

As a result of Lumus’ prominence, which brings a refreshingly haunting folk feel to much of the album, much of Dustin Behm’s guitar work is sublimated into the overall sound, rather than taking the lead as on so many European works: he is given his chances to shine, such as on the atmospheric ‘The Cave’, where his shredding work cuts through the folkiness of the main melody like a knife through melting butter, and when he does so he shows himself to be a consummate musician, with the right combination of crunching yet melodic riffs, soaring solos and necessary restraint.

Vocally, Charlotte Camp – who, despite her resonant soprano, comes from a country and jazz background – certainly stands her own against many of her counterparts, showing a range and diversity that is extremely impressive and certainly broader than many other women operating in this particular sub-genre: she may not be in the big league quite yet, but her voice is extremely pleasant and she delivers the material well.

Some of the song arrangements may be slightly off-kilter (‘Lost Child’ jumps about all over the place, with the vocals and main melody not quite matching each other), and by and large they’re nothing spectacular in overall terms of the genre – although the centrepiece four-part title track is ambitious and suitably rewarded for its vision – and the production may be a bit muddy in places, but this nevertheless a fine debut and deserves to be hunted down by fans of female-fronted melodic metal.

Follow the band on Facebook.

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