Ludicra is never guilty of trend hopping. The band always delivers its brand of melancholy and rage without artificial colors or flavors, regardless of whatever the “flavor of the month” is. Their second release for Alternative Tentacles is no exception. Returning with a cataclysmic and harsh inquiry into the state of the human condition and life in the city, Ludicra’s latest full length eschews even their own devices from the much lauded sophomore effort, Another Great Love Song. Stripping the arrangements of all fat and most of the flesh, 2006’s Fex Urbis Lex Orbus concentrates on pure muscle and bone, and the band’s unique ability to deliver scorching black metal devoid of clichŽ.
Ludicra’s blackened vision is in the spirit of frozen rawness from bands like Darkthrone or old Mayhem, even as they drag the genre out of juvenile Satanism and forest landscapes. In defiance, they smack it face-first into a bloody and shit-stained sidewalk. With songs that are “complex, moody, darkly psychedelic, and post-rocky” (Aquarius Records), Ludicra somehow manages to maintain the mystical, evocative nature of the best black metal in its depictions of harsh reality. It recalls the brutal voices of Alternative Tentacle’s past, such as Logical Nonsense, Dead and Gone and Neurosis.
Following up a recent EP from Life Is Abuse Records and two full-length records, Ludicra’s third album provides a rare example of consistency without stagnation. They display the kind of uncompromising fortitude that puts their contemporaries to shame. The music is devoid of urbane posturing and beyond childish diabolism. What you hear is like a cloud of acrid narcotic smoke, a forest fire, the chilly San Francisco fog, or maybe even your life going up in flames.
Ludicra features members of other Bay Area bands including Impaled, Hammers of Misfortune and Hickey.