By Laura Wiebe Taylor
I’m new to Ludicra. Bad timing kept me from even checking out their live show opening for Hammers of Misfortune last summer. The Tenant has convinced me I’ve got some catching up to do. Sometimes described as a black metal band, Ludicra is far more than that. Yes, there are black metal elements but they’re only one side of what might sound like a case of multiple personality disorder in less accomplished hands. If I didn’t know Ludicra was a San Francisco band I might be able to guess – cross-collaborations and creative interaction in the scene have contributed to a particular atmosphere and array of sounds that are becoming distinctly recognizable. The Tenant carries a lot of that vibe. Clear but distant, heavy but also sparse, the record conveys a live vitality that’s usually hard to capture on disc. But it’s also about genre-mixing, mining the past for something relevant to the present. Stripped-down blackened metal fuses with old school metal riffs, but the tech and progressive bits have an old school feel as well, all tempered with a vintage hint of grungey dark pop. And then it just stops – no resolution, no closure, and no direction where to go from here but into the band’s back catalogue to see what I’ve missed.