San Francisco black metal band Ludicra stand out from their peers not just because of their membership -- having women as lead vocalist and guitarist is rare in the genre -- but also because of the adventurousness of their music. Without stretching black metal's parameters to the breaking point, they incorporate dissonance, progressive melodies, and a fuller sound than might be expected in a music known for its willful embrace of lo-fi recording and general primitivism. Ludicra have conventionally beautiful vocal harmonies backing the unearthly growls and howls, they double the electric guitars with jangling acoustic ones, and the drummer frequently abandons blastbeats for intricate patterns that wouldn't have seemed out of place on a prog rock album. Some songs, like "Clean White Void," are built around almost conventional hard rock riffs, and the solos are classically metallic in a Judas Priest/Iron Maiden vein. Of course, none of that should imply that they can't tear it up when they want to -- album opener "Stagnant Pond" is quite pretty, but "A Larger Silence" is as ferocious as anything by Mayhem or Darkthrone. This dichotomy between savagery and refinement is at the core of Ludicra's music, and this disc is a peak for them.
AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman