Time Lurker started in 2014 as a solo-outfit for Mick, hailing from the French city of Strasbourg. Intention was to create post-modernistic Black Metal, conceptually based on the nature of humanity, and mankind’s struggle with inner demons, created by our own uncertainty, fears, subconsciousness and failures. It’s meant to be a sonic travel through worlds described by both Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft.
Last year, Mick wrote and recorded some tracks, which he released digitally in November and December 2016, under the titles I and Ethereal Hands, both in demonstrational form. Four more tracks were written for an upcoming EP, but recently the fine Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions label decided to have these tracks gathered, and to release them properly on CD and vinyl too. FYI: the LP edition lacks the Ethereal Hands single.
For the recording sessions, Mick worked with some guest singers from notorious bands like Rance, Paramnesia, Le Mal Des Ardents and Pyrecult. The double-folded digipack comes with excellent artwork (courtesy of Jo Mot Rot), and the seven tracks last for about forty-nine minutes (forty-one minutes for the LP). The compilation starts with the lengthy tracks Rupture and Judgment, the two pieces on last year’s EP I. Rupture starts quite slow, before exploding, after two minutes and a half, into an overwhelming, asphyxiation whirlwind of oppressing power. This is the kind of Lovecraftian Black Metal that the label sort of characterises, and once again you notice quite immediately that the quality of both song writing and performance (Mick did everything himself) is of a top-level. The combination of thunderous rhythms, hypnotic melodies and grim vocals create one of the most ominous and morbid atmospheres I’ve heard lately. Both pieces balance very organically in between fierce outbursts, integer interludes, atmospheric parts and obscure passages. There is a lot of variation going on, with several tempo-changes, breaks and intermezzi. Above all the whole carries an overwhelming Post-attitude in both sound and performance. More or less the same goes for the digital single Ethereal Hands (not on the vinyl edition), which was written and composed around the same period in Autumn 2016. The devastating grimness of this track is simply suffocative and intoxicating, and even bleaker and more malignant than both tracks on I. It might not be that surprising if I mentioned Moonreich and The Great Old Ones, would it?
The four compositions on the second EP are, with exception of the final one, remarkably shorter than the stuff from 2016: in between two and a half minutes and less than six minutes. They come with a slightly better production quality (not ‘just’ demo recordings) and more of a bombastic sound and dreary atmosphere. But from conceptual / sonic point it goes completely on in the vein of the older material. Here too the combination of blasting eruptions and atmospheric passages is so intelligently balanced, creating an unstoppable need to continue listening again and again, every time sort of discovering new elements. There is more focus on the instrumental execution than the vocal contributions, yet the latter remains so grandiose. The throats in Whispering From Space, for example, are just skull-hammering.
Anyway, fans of the Canadian and French scene in general, and Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions’ roster more specifically, have to give this recording a try. It’s the total package (visuals, atmosphere and performance) that convinces, yet the aural thing specifically deserves all respect.