Lambent Flame

Black Sun Ensemble

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Lambent Flame Review

by Richard Foss

Lambent Flame was recorded just before the core members of this band got completely lost in drugs and mysticism, which doesn't mean this release is short of references to either. The raga-influenced guitar freak-outs sometimes include chanted or howled vocals, which are sometimes in English, sometimes not. Odin Helgison's voice is generally buried beneath a swirl of guitars, which is just where it belongs, since when he is audible one can tell that his lyrics are second-rate acidhead ramblings. It's all redeemed by the flamboyant guitar work of Jesus Acedo, who unleashes mind-bending solos and even the occasional catchy melody. Another asset is Duane Norman's tasteful sax and flute playing, which gives a restrained counterpoint to the madness happening all around. Tracks like the Santana-esque "Blues for Rainer" and the Indian-inflected "Leviathan Song" show that this band actually had compositional skills when they felt like using them, and they could actually make music that was both heavy and subtle. There are just enough moments like that spread through this album to make it a keeper.

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