Luna in Caelo

Aquellos Desgarradores Gritos Llamados Silencio

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While the black-themed artwork of the album would appear to suggest something simply gothic, Luna in Caelo has its own particular spin on things thanks to the band's Chilean background and its members' interest in everything from history to design. The group's full-length debut, Aquellos Desgarradores (its full title in English, "Those tearing screams called silence") runs a gamut of approaches as a result, from fragile, a cappella pieces and minimal yet majestic instrumentals to booming, doom-laden numbers with full-band arrangements. If there's one thing in particular that makes Aquellos Desgarradores worthy of a listen, it's lead singer Alejandra Araya's abilities. Combining strength with a tremulous, edgy catch in her voice, she suggests a much different line of traditions than the ice queen or mystic folk approaches used and often abused by darkwave singers the world over. There's a clear bit of Siouxsie Sioux here and there -– the fierce "Adios" is a good demonstration -– but tellingly more in the way that singer experimented with Spanish-language inspirations on the Creatures' Boomerang. As a result, Araya infuses the sometimes overfamiliar goth spin and swirl the band creates with a different edge, especially since she steers away from screaming even at Luna in Caelo's loudest, echoing through the mix like a strange ghost. The musicians do deserve credit for experimenting as they go, though some of the results inevitably suggest other bands ("Susurro" is very clearly a Cocteau Twins homage in its dreamy, heavily treated gauze). Cutting down some songs to short length, playing with arrangements to introduce longer, chaotic endings, and more hint at the group's ambitions, which hopefully later albums might see flower into something more distinct. The Palace of Worms reissue of the album in 2001 includes the band's three debut songs from a Chilean compilation, Encuentros Cercanos.