Since the release of 2019’s The Smokeless Fires, Lunar Shadow, and in particular, founder, guitarist and songwriter Max Birbaum, underwent a massive transformation. First, Birbaum decided to end all Lunar Shadows’ live show activities after their now-postponed 2020 appearance at Germany’s Party.San Open Air. And, secondly and most profoundly, he has led Lunar Shadow into post- and indie rock territory, all but leaving behind the firebrand power and black metal mix the band so perfectly executed on The Smokeless Fires. From it all, Lunar Shadow has emerged with their most definitive and memorable statement to date, Wish to Leave.
Wish to Leave was recorded from July to November 2020 in Leipzig under the careful eye of engineer/producer Max Herrmann; V. Santura of Dark Fortress and Triptykon fame mastered the album. The six songs found herein are interwoven with melody and darkness with stripped-down guitars and greater emphasis on vocals as well as the rhythmic aspects of Lunar Shadow, who are completed by vocalist Robert Röttig, second guitarist K. Hamacher, bassist S. Hamacher and drummer J. Zehner. It is an album sure to intrigue and puzzle — while several Lunar Shadow sonic trademarks remain in place, Wish to Leave represents a new direction sound borne out of artistic restlessness and ceaseless creativity from Birbaum.
The Wish to Leave album title is an abstract token of escapism. It describes the vague longing Birbaum sometimes has — a wish to leave everything behind him, namely, love and friendship. It is an all-encompassing title, tying together Birbaum’s idea that Wish to Leave is Lunar Shadow’s “big city album.” Indeed, a lot of the lyrics were inspired by Birbaum’s late-night walks home in Leipzig — dark alleys, concrete, the sound of boots clicking against the sidewalk, the gutter, dirt and broken glass all served as the backdrop for his lyrical ideas. Like The Smokeless Fires, Wish to Leave explores themes of love and the complexity of relationships. Acclaimed author Robert E. Howard is again used as inspiration — his stories The Screaming Skull of Silence and The Striking of the Gong served as the lyrical foundation for “And Silence Screamed.”
A band’s third album often serves as a make-or-break, sink-or-swim point. For Lunar Shadow, it is clear — Wish to Leave will be the album that divides their fanbase and may possibly earn some new ones. It is a risk Birbaum and his bandmates are willing to take to break Lunar Shadow out of the metal underground.
1. Serpents Die
3. I Will Lose You
4. To Dusk And I Love You
5. And Silence Screamed
6. The Darkness Between The Stars
GENRE: Heavy Metal/Indie Rock