Lunar Tombfields is not afraid to aim high.
Formed in 2020 near Nantes by M. (guitar/bass/vocals, Absolvtion) and Äzh (drums/guitar, Natremia, ex-Defenestration), the band signed to Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions, with whom they released their debut album in 2022, closely followed by An Arrow to the Sun the following year.
The album kicks off with the haunting sound of An Elegy to the Fog Dancer, the shortest track, which places hypnotic leads over a very slow but already dark rhythm that eventually welcomes the first words before riffs ignite on Solar Charioteer, where scathing melodies meet a frantic basis. Old School tones combine with raw howls to create a suffocating atmosphere that becomes majestic as it slows down thanks to dissonant harmonics, but which also know how to fuel fury in the most vivid moments of these rhythmic waves of darkness which adopt more mysterious tones before giving way to Représailles, where melancholy reigns. It never completely fades away, but welcomes more aggressive tones and rocky French vocals that perfectly convey the most intense despair, confirmed and complemented by the heady leads haunting the landscape. The track then calms down, leading into As Iron Calls, So Pile the Dreams, which begins with sampled vocals before releasing all its fury thanks to melodious but above all fast riffs, responding to the intensity of the tortured screams. The sound slows down to become bitter again, then a clean break gives us a moment of respite before saturation chokes us again before trampling us on the finale, followed by The Amber Herd, which quickly becomes more majestic and impressive. Blast keeps the aggressive roots while the harmonics fly between the screams of rage, sometimes soothing them to let the sound become throbbing again for a few moments before abandoning itself once more to the tenebrous power before fading away to give life to Le Chant des Tombes, the last composition. We find here the same ardor than previously, as well as French vocals alternating between vehemence and sullen tones, leading us towards a pessimistic nothingness.
Firmly rooted in their Black Metal roots, but also daring to venture into soaring, haunting tones, Lunar Tombfields know how to manage their intensity perfectly, offering us with An Arrow to the Sun a dark manifesto to be savored without moderation.
A few questions to M. and Äzh, founders of French band Lunar Tombfields.
Hello, and thank you for your time! How could you introduce the band Lunar Tombfields without using the usual musical style labels?
M. (guitar/bass/vocals): It’s always difficult to pigeonhole your own creation. We like to think of this project as a Black Metal entity, but one in which we don’t close any doors. There’s plenty of room for melody and atmosphere, but there’s also room for more violent tracks and even a few progressive elements.
Äzh (drums/guitar): We play a very personal style of music, in which we allow ourselves to do whatever we feel like. In terms of composition, everything is particularly intuitive, and we rarely have to think for long before agreeing on a concept, a riff or a progression. Our music is contemplative, melodic and sometimes aggressive, more violent.
An Arrow to the Sun, your second album, has just been released. Have you had any feedback on it yet?
M.: Every album release is both exciting and stressful. We’ve had our heads in this record for almost a year now, and we can’t wait to hear what the public thinks of it. Initial feedback has been very positive, so we’ll see what the future holds for this record. It’s very common to hear artists say they want to change something before releasing a record. There are obviously things we’d like to tweak a bit more, but on the whole we’re both very proud of the new album.
Äzh: We’re very excited about the release of this album. The recording and mixing/mastering went very well, we’re confident about the compositions, and now we just have to wait for the public’s feedback.
How would you sum up An Arrow to the Sun in three words?
M.: Epic, warlike, snarling.
Äzh: I’d also say epic, but also rich and personal.
An Arrow to the Sun was released barely a year and a half after your debut album. Have you noticed any changes or evolutions in the creative process?
M.: We’ve always operated in the same way since the birth of the project. I come up with the concept for the album and compose the framework for each track. Äzh then adds his parts and takes care of the arrangements. New ideas are grafted on as the demos progress. That’s how each track takes shape. Then I take care of the lyrics. The fact that we’re just two brains with a shared vision means that things move relatively quickly. We were aware of areas for improvement after the release of The Eternal Harvest, such as the decision to shorten the songs. We wanted to create something more direct, more primal and more epic at the same time, in keeping with our respective tastes. We’re happy with the new formula.
The name Lunar Tombfields is taken from a song by the German band Venenum, but how do you relate it to your music?
M.: The name was inspired by a song by this band, but that’s simply because we felt it represented our music perfectly, that’s all. There’s no homage behind it. The term « Lunar » of course refers to the moon and stars in general. As the central theme of our first album, humanity has often turned to the stars and the gods for answers about the path to follow. The term « Tombfields » refers to the failures of these destinies, the mistakes made and repeated over and over again, the forgiveness never formulated, the cemeteries ever more crowded and the betrayals never forgiven.
The majority of the lyrics are in English, but I did notice two tracks in French on this album: Représailles and Le chant des tombes. Why did you choose to keep French for these tracks?
M.: Actually, we had planned to start using French right from the start of the album’s composition. The lyrics for Le Chant des Tombes were the second to be finalized, after those for Solar Charioteer. The idea soon arose to end each side of the vinyl with a title in French, thus establishing a kind of break in the narrative. Singing in one’s mother tongue brings an extra ardor and rage, in my opinion. It’s also easier to set up certain metaphors, images and concepts.
Although each track has its own atmosphere, each of your compositions is relatively long, while remaining very coherent between the aggressive and softer parts. How do you manage to create a balance in your compositions?
M.: I’ve always been a big fan of progressive music, and I suppose that’s reflected in our compositions. The risk is sometimes to get lost in it, but that’s where Äzh‘s fresh eye comes in. That’s what the arrangements are for, to create a link between everything that emerges in my mind.
Äzh: When it comes to arranging songs, I find it easy to make clean cuts in the compositions, deleting whole passages or modifying them completely. Generally speaking, as soon as the rhythm of a track doesn’t flow smoothly, we try to modify the structure in depth, so that listening is as pleasant and « logical » as possible. The length of the tracks stems from this: we want the harmonic progression to be as rich and accomplished as possible, without setting ourselves any limits.
I’ve noticed a rather Old School approach to your music at times. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
M.: Our music reflects our state of mind, our feelings when composing. We’re as passionate about music as we are musicians. We draw our inspiration from listening, reading and daydreaming. We establish a musical direction and try to give it a sound form as faithful as possible to our expectations. Of course, the path is not set in stone, and we often change direction during the composition process.
Äzh: I discovered extreme metal with Scandinavian Black Metal bands, and since then I’ve hardly ever stopped listening to them. I love the intensity that emanates from this scene, the power and the warlike side. This state of mind can be transposed to many styles, and even though we often take the time to bring in our riffs, introduce our climaxes etc., sometimes we just want to play straightforward Black Metal.
I know this is a difficult question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
M.: That’s a difficult question. I like the fact that each track is really different from the others. If I have only one choice, my preference would be Le Chant des Tombes. It’s the one where the writing of the music and lyrics was the most fluid. I particularly appreciate all the melodies developed here. I think it’s the perfect conclusion to this album.
Äzh: For my part, it’s undoubtedly As Iron Calls, So Pile the Dreams… for the simple reason that it contains the most beautiful riff on the album. I have the feeling that it’s probably the simplest track too, the most direct, along with perhaps Solar Charioteer.
An Arrow to the Sun is released on Les Acteurs De L’Ombre, the label you worked with on your first album, how is the collaboration with them?
M.: It’s going well. We know most of the members personally, and they’re all very committed to what they do. The collaboration on this second album went off without a hitch. We do what they expect of us and they do what we expect of them, that’s all.
How did you discover Extreme Metal, and more specifically the Black Metal scene? In your opinion, which are the scene’s must-have bands?
M.: In a fairly classic way, when I stumbled across my father’s Kiss and Iron Maiden records at the age of nine. Since then, my musical path has continued to evolve as I’ve met new people, particularly in my teens, when friends and my insatiable thirst for new discoveries brought Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Enslaved and Emperor to my ears. I don’t know if there are any unmissable bands out there today, but I’m not one of those who tirelessly repeats that « it was better before ». Great things are still emerging today. Black Metal in all its forms still has a bright future ahead of it.
Äzh: The very first metal CD I bought was Mayhem‘s Chimera. I quickly moved on to the Scandinavian 90s classics. Unlike M., I’m very attached to that era, and I think Gorgoroth‘s first 3 albums will forever remain the quintessence of Black Metal in my eyes. I’m also a big fan of the band Belliciste, who still manages to capture that spirit and soul today. I highly recommend you give them a listen.
The band is basically a duo, but also relies on session musicians for its live shows. How did you go about recruiting them?
M.: Rx and Atheus have been friends for a long time and are both experienced musicians. It seemed only natural to ask them to join us on stage.
Äzh: Originally, we were both playing guitar live. We recruited Atheus naturally, and when our drummer couldn’t continue with us, I took over the drums. RxN is a musician with whom I share other musical projects, and who has a disconcerting facility for learning repertoires, so it was a professional and efficient solution to recruit him.
Do you have any plans for the future of Lunar Tombfields? I know that you will be touring France and Belgium with Jours Pâles , so how are you preparing?
M.: We’re planning to play as much as possible to defend the album on stage. In addition to the tour you mentioned, dates and festivals will soon be announced. We’re preparing very seriously. We want to be the best we can be on stage, as it’s our duty to the public who travel and pay to see you.
Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
M.: There are of course artists with whom we’d like to share the road and the stage, but there are no plans to collaborate at the moment.