Luna In Caelo
Aquellos Desgarradores Gritos Llamados Silencio
Palace of Worms
Formed by historian Alejandra Araya (vocals) and designer Daniel Dávila (guitar) in Santiago, Chile in 1993, Luna In Caelo (“the moon in the heavens”) released their first album in 1998, shortly before moving to Mexico City. Aquellos… (“those tearing screams called silence”) is a rerelease of that first album, together with two previously unreleased mpeg videos (for “Duda” and “Locus”) and new artwork.
Solidly in the goth camp (though the band called themselves “neo-expressionists” in a 1995 manifesto), Luna In Caelo falls somewhere between early Cure and the heavier goth, tending towards metal, of groups like Italy’s Artica. The stark contrast of Alejandra’s beautiful voice soaring above heavy and dark drums, bass, and guitar forms the core of Luna In Caelo’s sound, and gives Aquellos a sense of dislocation and wrenching loss, a neverending search for meaning in a bleak, uncaring world. Alejandra’s vocals are intense and deeply emotional, her voice rich and expressive, crying out with pain and longing.
Because all the lyrics are in Spanish, which I don’t understand (and which were neither printed nor translated in the booklet for the promo CD I was sent to review), I can only tell you what the songs feel like. “Pena” (“Sorrow”) begins with a warm, echoing guitar that fills a lonely, cave-like space. Then heavy bass and drums crash in, thumping, pounding, and punishing, only to calm a bit when Alejandra’s lovely voice enters. The atmosphere of the track is unrelentingly oppressive and dark, the odd echoes and poundings feeling like the reverberations of a nightmare. Finally we end with the strummed guitar alone again in the depths of the earth, striking bright sparks from the stalactites and stalagmites, reflected in a deep, black pool in the center of a cavern dreamed into being.
“Locus” has no words (nor even wordless vocals), yet it was my favorite track on the disc. A fine piece of dark ambience constructed almost entirely from guitar sounds, the track could easily be the soundtrack to a horror film. At first you hear only a single note droning for what seems like forever, then slowly others pluck at the edges of your awareness, some of those notes also held for an eternity before fading away beneath deep, dark rumblings, echoes, and throbs. Many visions could come from so suggestive a music as this, but one of mine was of a man awakening in total darkness, slowly groping his way until he touches cold stone walls enclosing a small room whose door has no keyhole, the horror slowly growing as more cold stone is found in the center of the room, a low carved rectangular box raised off the floor, a heavy slab broken and pushed aside, then a slow shuffling and moaning in the darkness as the groping man touches a face of bone and hollow eye sockets, a face that lies at the center of his own being…
Not exactly appropriate for an afternoon stroll in the park, but excellent darkwave music in the European style. Well worth checking out if you enjoy angelic female vocals paired with darkly beautiful guitars, drums, and bass.
Palace of Worms Records:, http://utenti.tripod.it/palaceofworms