Music connects people in a very natural way – there is something that unites us when sharing what we enjoy with others, and bonding over outlets of expression, interests or artists. Lunaform, even before they had released any kind of music, capitalized on this sense of community by amassing a significant following through their Facebook group. Led by YouTube artist/vocalist Andrew Patterson (Design of Destiny, Cortexiphan), the Texan quartet promised a scathing, symphonic take on progressive metalcore. So does their debut self-titled EP, which comes out on March 16, deliver?
I’ve discussed the cliché of symphonic introductions to progressive metalcore records countless times by now, but they continue to happen, for worse, or, in Lunaform’s case, for better. “Deus Ex Machina” is an epic opener that immediately conjures comparison to the sweeping scores of your favorite fantasy/action films. It also includes some clever references to the rest of the music that follows, like first single “Faces”.
“Faces” opens with a knotted, technical and generally awesome series of riffs that draw similarities to Veil of Maya before flowing to the chug-meets-synth verses typical of Born of Osiris. Patterson’s hearty screams match the energy of the music effectively. The orchestrations opening the record continue on this track as well as the rest of the EP, and I really can’t overstate how much I enjoy the symphonic element this band has embedded in their sound. We are also introduced to Patterson’s singing here, bringing some melodic anchoring to the technicality and bombast of the lengthy (for the genre) six and a half minute single.
Where “Faces” is huge and aggressive, second single “Delirium” is somewhat more reserved and emotive. Haunting strings transform into string-spanning riffs before Patterson’s singing takes center stage against harp-like synths. Though Patterson has a commanding scream, his singing does not quite carry the same charisma. He crafts strong choruses and can belt them out confidently, but his delivery on softer sections falls flat in certain sections.
The last two tracks of the five on the EP occupy similar territory as the two aforementioned songs, but Patterson elects to exclusively scream on this latter half of the EP. Closer “Withered” is massive and symphonic, opening with a slow, heavy groove before reverting to the thrashier, technical riffs that have quickly become a hallmark of Lunaform. Guitarist/composer Justin Czubas shines here as he does on much of the EP, while still creating music that is anchored in effective songwriting.
Lunaform perform high-quality but not particularly original progressive metalcore. Their EP is well-produced, and the record benefits from their somewhat unique orchestrations and impressive, energetic riffing. I could easily see the group continuing to build their already strong musical community with their sound as it stands on this enjoyable EP. However, I imagine that strengthening some aspects of the singing while exploring more ambitious material on future records would make for a more rewarding and original future full-length.
Notable Tracks: “Faces”
FFO: Born of Osiris, Shokran, The Voynich Code, Veil of Maya