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LUNATIC SOUL

Crossover Prog • Poland


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Lunatic Soul picture
Lunatic Soul biography
Founded 2008 in Warsaw, Poland

The LUNATIC SOUL is a solo studio project from RIVERSIDE's bass guitarist and vocalist Mariusz DUDA featuring RIVERSIDE's keyboard player Michał ŁAPAJ on the Hammond organ with Maciej SZELENBAUM playing keyboards, piano, flutes, harmonica and qujang, Wawrzyniec DRAMOWICZ from INDUKTI on drums and QUIDAM's Maciej MELLER utilising the e-bow on an unspecified stringed instrument.

While far removed from RIVERSIDE's Progressive Metal it is not difficult to see comparisons and similarities to the parent band in the music contained on the eponymous debut album - not least of all because of DUDA's distinctive clean vocals, the occasional guttural growl and, despite the lack of electric guitars, the pounding acoustic guitar riffs that appear on some of the tracks. However, this is not the lighter, unplugged side of DUDA, it is a dark brooding mix of eclectic sounds with ethnic instruments and influences evoking eastern/oriental themes, psychedlic-era PINK FLOYD-like rhythms, swirling and ethereal keyboards reminiscent of early PORCUPINE TREE tied together by songs that are surprisingly accessible and melodic.

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LUNATIC SOUL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LUNATIC SOUL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 400 ratings
Lunatic Soul
2008
3.85 | 379 ratings
Lunatic Soul II
2010
3.77 | 255 ratings
Impressions
2011
4.00 | 406 ratings
Walking On A Flashlight Beam
2014
3.85 | 253 ratings
Fractured
2017
3.64 | 105 ratings
Under The Fragmented Sky
2018
4.09 | 120 ratings
Through Shaded Woods
2020

LUNATIC SOUL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LUNATIC SOUL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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LUNATIC SOUL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Cold
2014
3.25 | 4 ratings
Anymore
2017
2.67 | 3 ratings
Moving On
2017
3.67 | 3 ratings
A Thousand Shards of Heaven
2017
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Art of Repairing
2018
2.67 | 3 ratings
Untamed
2018

LUNATIC SOUL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars Released back in November, Through Shaded Woods is the 7th album of Lunatic Soul, the progressive rock/metal side-project of Mariusz Duda, vocalist and bass player of Polish prog-metallers Riverside. Since its inception in 2008, Duda has always used Lunatic Soul as a vehicle for releasing the more experimental sides of his music - be it ambient instrumental music, electronic-tinged rock, or acoustic folk - and Through Shaded Woods is no exception. Here, Duda pushes to the fore his acoustic and folk influences, resulting in an album that could sit comfortably in a record collection alongside Hexvessel, Wardruna or Heilung.

Differently from some of the bands named above, however, the six compositions included on Through Shaded Woods Soul maintain a distinctive rock/metal sound, as they all revolve around tight, rhythmic riffs that are not so distant from what Duda's main band Riverside use in their music. A major difference, however, lies in the instrumentation: the electric distortion that we can find aplenty on Riverside's albums is almost entirely absent here - bar the use of sporadic distorted bass lines, like on "The Passage" and in the second-half of "Summoning Dance". Acoustic guitars, bass and piano dominate the scene instead, giving the album a very sedated and intimate feel. There is also a greater emphasis on folk-infused themes, with several songs displaying a traditional dance-like character. This is further accentuated by the use of simple beats and percussions that impart a ritualistic feel to the songs. Sporadically, keyboard interjections and sound effects are used to add depth and color to the music, but for the most part the backbone of the songs is kept unplugged and low key.

The simple background is ideal to let Duda's unmistakable voice shine and take centre stage. His melancholic, heart-on-the-sleeve performance perfectly complements the music and reaches a high-point on the spending closing track "The Fountain", which is perhaps one of the most moving songs ever written by Duda. There are also beautiful multi-layered vocal harmonies throughout the album - a distinctive trait of Duda's songwriting that is even more prominent on this record. Also notable is Duda's choice to play all instruments himself on the album. Despite the inevitable simplification in the arrangements of some instruments (most notably, the drums/percussion), the choice actually pays off as it gives the album a more intimate and natural feel that matches well the record's general spirit.

Overall, Through Shaded Woods is another successful chapter in Mariusz Duda's remarkable career. It's a delicate and intimate album that, although it does not have the impact and power of some of Riverside's best albums, possesses a unique, hypnotic allure that keeps drawing me back for more. Duda's one-man side-project Lunatic Soul may have stayed off the radar of most metal fans, but you should give Through Shaded Woods a try, especially if you are into acts that sit at the intersection between metal and experimental neo-folk music.

(Originally written for The Metal Observer)

 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Trough shaded woods is a seventh album from Lunatic Soul and it represents a slight change from his previous albums which embraced electronics. This album brings a more acoustic approach, most refined and richest sounding album so far.

The music on this piece is really accessible, emotional and it evokes feelings of brightness and optimism. The music brings more modern elements and it combines with various folk elements. Mysterious, mystical world, echoing and haunting vocals, folk driven acoustic guitar and hypnotic rhythms are at the center of this fine work by Mariusz Duda.

This is a really fine album and it takes you to a really calming place, but for me personally it does not deliver things that will make me return to this piece more often.

 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by RelayerFr

5 stars Who does not know Mariusz DUDA, this champion of Prog music, this singer with a divine voice, this brilliant multi-instrumentalist and composer? I hear it said here and there that it could be the new STEVEN WILSON as his talent is monumental! LUNATIC SOUL has been his solo project since 2008 as he exercises his abilities as a bassist and vocalist for the world famous band RIVERSIDE. Mariusz DUDA is the plural man who has achieved the feat of finding himself for the first time totally alone at the helm and working on all the tracks, while he worked in the company of guests on previous albums. But do not confuse him with the man-orchestra all the same! So here we are with a seventh cake: "Through Shaded Woods"which offers us six songs with a bonus of three additional songs. Unlike "Fractured" and "Under The Fragmented Sky" this last album is almost devoid of electronics except bonus and electric guitar. Mariusz DUDA prefers as usual to use an acoustic guitar and his bass as hersazt instead of electric guitar. Her voice is refined from album to album: here she manages to make us waver in melancholic verses using a timbre with a remarkably precise articulation.usually use an acoustic guitar and its bass as hersazt instead of electric guitar. Her voice is refined from album to album: here she manages to make us waver in melancholic verses using a timbre with a remarkably precise articulation.usually use an acoustic guitar and its bass as hersazt instead of electric guitar. Her voice is refined from album to album: here she manages to make us waver in melancholic verses using a timbre with a remarkably precise articulation.

"Through Shaded Woods" brings us back to his first two albums with folk themes in the fringe of DEAD CAN DANCE to now venture into Scandinavian, Slavic or even Celtic landscapes with groups like HEILUNG or WARDRUNA as references. Mariusz knows how to make us travel to dreamlike and magical lands by developing conceptual sets filled with mysteries and darkness from Nordic folklore. He manages to captivate the listener by plunging him into the heart of a lush and vaporous forest where fabulous beings can appear at any time. Mariusz found his inspiration for the album in his childhood home, an area of ​​Poland known for its forests and lakes, "I think I always wanted to create an album imbued with nature and woods. These mebring freedom, breathing and a return-to-nature dance ritual, so I wanted the album to include ritualistic primitive dances, shamanic, Slavic and Viking vibes. I wanted to mix it all up and put it all together, making "Through Shaded Woods" the most intense, dynamic and dancing album of my career. "He is also a big fan of video games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim stuffed with soundtracks with similar atmospheres already mentioned above. Let's take a closer look at the new world of Mariusz ...the most intense, dynamic and dancing album of my career. "He is also a big fan of video games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim stuffed with soundtracks with similar atmospheres already mentioned above. Let's take a closer look at the new world of Mariusz ...the most intense, dynamic and dancing album of my career. "He is also a big fan of video games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim stuffed with soundtracks with similar atmospheres already mentioned above. Let's take a closer look at the new world of Mariusz ...

"Navvie" is a flashy piece that will delight the average listener from the first notes, a good appetizer. Dry guitar and shamanic incantations begin a beautifully sung and devilishly cadenced refrain, bass drum, tambourine and harmonica playing in the distance to indicate that we are in the territory of legends and invite us in a frantic dance with rock and folklore allures (8.5 / 10 ). A sad sire desperately searches for "The Passage" while the time of life passes at full speed, trapped between two worlds he seeks the light and his memories. And there we can say that there was light, and that he succeeded in recalling us to his fond memories! An incredible softness emerges from Mariusz's voice, a voice that comes out of the back of the throat and grabs us like a breeze in spring.Acoustic guitar and light bass guitar mix and alternate on a wonderful melody worthy of the most beautiful compositions. Here we go from folk to pop, from pop on a rise of metal and we come back to typically Slavic folklore with a passage cadenced by a bass with intoxicating effects. As the English would say: "masterpiece"! (10/10).

The title song "Through Shaded Woods" takes us back to popular Nordic music and places us in the middle of an enchanted and abundant forest. A heavy and bewitching tempo harmonizes around an intermittently hatched voice with the help of a vocoder, accompanied by the same instruments already mentioned, and producing sounds arousing a typically ancestral past. Tambourine, mysterious flute, folk acoustic guitar, and voices whispering in the distance behind the trees transmit to this piece a most successful cinematic atmosphere (9/10). "Oblivion" looks like a relatively cheerful ritual dance, like a feast where the whole village gathers around a blaze. Drum beats accompanied by a dry guitar, a synth in the background and,from the enchanting voice of Mariusz, humming and singing the most harmonious verses (8.5 / 10). A calm guitar begins "Summoning Dance" with an equally sweet voice, a beautiful melancholic melody tells us the weariness of present and past lives, with the feeling of no longer having the strength to move forward, the awareness of inexorably repeating the same course. This chorus surrounded by a beautiful piano is transformed into a rock / heavy music of beautiful invoice in a style which could evoke THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST. The same quality as the previous pieces, this invitation to dance makes me tap my foot, and makes me want to take out my old guitar to try out its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).A calm guitar begins "Summoning Dance" with an equally sweet voice, a beautiful melancholic melody tells us the weariness of present and past lives, with the feeling of no longer having the strength to move forward, the awareness of inexorably repeating the same course. This chorus surrounded by a beautiful piano is transformed into a rock / heavy music of beautiful invoice in a style which could evoke THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST. The same quality as the previous pieces, this invitation to dance makes me tap my foot, and makes me want to take out my old guitar to try out its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).A calm guitar begins "Summoning Dance" with an equally sweet voice, a beautiful melancholic melody tells us the weariness of present and past lives, with the feeling of no longer having the strength to move forward, the awareness of inexorably repeating the same course. This chorus surrounded by a beautiful piano is transformed into a rock / heavy music of beautiful invoice in a style which could evoke THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST. The same quality as the previous pieces, this invitation to dance makes me tap my foot, and makes me want to take out my old guitar to try out its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).with the feeling of no longer having the strength to move forward, the awareness of inexorably repeating the same course. This chorus surrounded by a beautiful piano is transformed into a rock / heavy music of beautiful invoice in a style which could evoke THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST. The same quality as the previous pieces, this invitation to dance makes me tap my foot, and makes me want to take out my old guitar to try out its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).with the feeling of no longer having the strength to move forward, the awareness of inexorably repeating the same course. This chorus surrounded by a beautiful piano is transformed into a rock / heavy music of beautiful invoice in a style which could evoke THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST. The same quality as the previous pieces, this invitation to dance makes me tap my foot, and makes me want to take out my old guitar to try out its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).want to take out my old guitar to try my hand on its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).want to take out my old guitar to try my hand on its fast and catchy arpeggios (9/10).

"The Fountain" is a deluge of melancholic feelings, Mariusz uses here his voice in the depths of his being to share with us gently the bitterness of a love which ends, a strong song which releases a pure and intense emotion to tears, it's incredibly beautiful! (9/10). After this heartbreaking interlude we are brought to get our feet wet again with "Vyraj" and to view wild and rocky regions from the sky. A well-cadenced bass with an electric and repetitive feel accompanies an incisive acoustic guitar. Intermittently a voice without words reminds us that this drunk with rock turns remains entirely under the yoke of a typically Nordic culture. But here nothing new under the Scandinavian sun ... (7/10). "Hylophobia"is a kind of childish round hard version with the same arguments already mentioned. A voice hums in snatches on thunderous percussions and a heavy repetitive bass. Nothing too bad, just fun and without complexity ... (6/10) "Transition II" is a multi-genre piece of over twenty-seven minutes which deals with varied and captivating atmospheres. I would first retain this feeling of fullness, characterized by long ambient and soothing passages. Very intimate parts very peeled with analytical instruments placed here and there like MIKE OLDFIELD, electro beat effects and electro pop sounds in the style of CHEMICAL BROTHERS, guitar resonances which sometimes drift towards the WHO, and a return to well-rhythmic folklore sources.This compartmentalized opus looks like a show of force, a sort of parade with the fireworks that go with it (9/10).

Vocally this album is perfect, here Mariusz masters the art of singing like never before and really gives the impression of living intensely its darkness to better exhort it and transform it positively. The playing of the acoustic guitar and a fiery and unleashed bass like an electric guitar brings a more playful side than they lacked in previous albums. Tumultuous percussions in harmony with the ambient folklore make it possible to transmit all the energy necessary for this work to result in sensational organic and tribal effects of the most cinematic. The compositions are well written and melodically of a high standard. On this album we find familiar excerpts from past songs, reworked and played differently.We will also notice the precision and care given to the melodies and the playing of the instruments. But after all these positive points what is missing in this opus to make history? A little bit of complexity perhaps and a little more regularity in the quality surely. Yet we find ourselves positioned between the very good and the excellence, so what are you waiting for to get yourself one of the best albums of 2020 ?!

 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars LUNATIC SOUL, side-project of the singer-bassist from Riverside has been exploring soft, soaring tones with synths backing since 2008; this 7th album transports us to a Scandinavian or Irish folk universe come to lend a hand; no electro here rough which he plays alone, looking to the past-future; an intimate, cold, icy music where tribal sounds finally release a little warmth, feelings and intrusive images able to make you travel alone through the use of own eidolias. "Navvie" with Irish folk sounds and accordion, bass, Mariusz's voice linear, haunting, basic, bewitching, acoustic atmo, appetizer. "The Passage" for a repetitive acoustic track, a monophasic suite that sets in motion halfway, a metallic riff that becomes embedded, we suddenly find ourselves at a banquet (more than 6 and more!) Where the 'we dance drunk on a weathered tree that serves as a table, a title not to be underestimated. "Through Shaded Woods" for the progressive Rajna-style vibe with binary sounds and that tortured voice, reverberating jarring distortion that makes you shiver, a sound of old times with traditional instruments; the voice is recovering with a normal stroke, ending with rustling of footsteps in the leaves. "Oblivion" with Dead Can Dance hovering here! Ritual drum, orchestra, troubadour rhyme that is nothing sensational except for this bucolic air and this enchanting voice of Mariusz. "Summoning Dance" which immediately reminds me of the sound of Anathema in their scintillating acoustic tunes; dream, purity, joy, crescendo with the contribution of the piano, acoustic guitars, electric bass and synths filling the fresh air of the undergrowth, everything to make bare feet dance in trance on the humus from the forest. "The Fountain" ending melody that could appear on a Riverside album, sad song about returning hope, crystal-clear piano, twilight orchestration and the astonishing beauty that goes with it, there we touch on the introspective ambient. 40 minutes that make you want to grab the luxury version with 3 bonuses, let's go: "Vyraj" for an instrumental title, folk trance, binary, stereotypical, bewitching taking up this hypnotic guitar frame; the voice is only whispered here, the synth in the background. "Hylophobia" on the shortest track and a dynamic riff well in the style of Riverside, you have to wait for the middle to return to these sounds from the cold. "Transition II" for the track you have to listen to; a trip here on Riverside, dub, on Mike Oldfield with that lush xylophone stint; then metallic percussions, an extension of "He Av En" from the previous album, intertwined sections which mix to merge and give by musical alchemy an incredible piece; further on, an atmosphere of an S-F movie soundtrack, you might think you could hear Tangerine Dream or Max Richter, it's beautiful to the baby's cry of wonder; 37 minutes more for a double chronicle of fact.

Primitive, ritual dances, composed in his childhood home invaded by forests, this album is a trap with these single-string and monophasic atmospheres which are loaded with reverberations; Safe from his ancestral torments Mariusz was able to deliver basic, archaic, Celtic, ambient music where melancholy torpor creates a musical oxymoron on fire and shadow, life and death, a memory on the moving film "L 'Isle ". a reminder of the sounds of Dead Can Dance and Peter Gabriel or even Heilung or Clannad in which Enya worked there for a while. Mariusz loves monotonous rhythmic repetitive sounds and shows it by transcending them, giving them an afterlife.

 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The folk side of master songwriter and singer Mariuz Duda.

1. "Navvie" (4:03) powerful and deeply engaging in a FAUN kind of way. My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

2. "The Passage" (8:57) dull and boring. (17/20)

3. "Through Shaded Woods" (5:51) a little too repetitive and drawn out (8.75/10)

4. "Oblivion" (5:03) That voice! Great use of zither, synths, and hand percussives. A top three song from me. (9/10)

5. "Summoning Dance" (9:52) nice start but, as is often the case with Mariuz Duda's Lunatic Soul songs, it fails to deviate from the foundation, only adding pretty and interesting incidentals here and there. Nice vocal melody and performance(s)--especially in the choruses. (There is an uncredited female voice singing background harmonies in the choruses). I like the use of piano, mandolin, and synths. When it goes slightly house/disco in the sixth minute, it's an interesting distraction, but then it goes rock with the fuzzy electric guitars and THIN LIZZY-like multiple guitar riffing. At the 8-minute mark there is a gap of stillness before returning to a full soundscape of all that has occurred before while synth strings lead over the top. (17.5/20)

6. "The Fountain" (6:04) a beautiful and very different song, vocal. Reminds me a little of a modern version of the 1970s band BREAD--or of something from Andrew Lloyd-Weber's Phantom of the Opera. (9/10)

Total Time 39:50

First disc: 4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. Special Ltd Edition Bonus CD: 1. "Vyraj" (5:32) a lively pagan folk romper in the vein of many of the more recent circle dances of FAUN. Mostly instrumental but some nice shifts in the soundscape along the way. (9/10)

2. "Hylophobia" (3:20) the heavier, almost rockin' side of mariuz cannot be denied (he's done it for far too long with Riverside). Add the folk percussion instruments and you have an aggressive almost folk music similar to that of Ivar Bh鴕nson and Einar Selvik on their 2018 Viking folk masterpiece, Hugsj? (A little more drum reliant than Ivar and Einar's work.) (8.5/10)

3. "Transition II" (27:45) opens with the very familiar breathy synth sounds from the opeing of Marius' 2010 epic "Transitions" from Lunatic Soul's second album, II. Added intstruments and sounds show early on that Mariuz is definitely developing this version quite differently than the original. At the four-minute mark the addition of a fuzzy guitar to the layers signals a completely new direction and, within the minute, we have moved completely into the territory made familiar by MIKE OLDFIELD. Is this further confirmation that Mariuz has caught the Mike Oldfield Syndrome in which an artist gets lured into the pattern of going back and redoing, remixing, or refreshing old songs/ideas? The section here from the seven-minute mark sounds exactly like something from the mind (and discography) of Mike Oldfield. At 12:30 we begin to move out of Mike Oldfield territory as two guitars, bass and synth wash enter a more New Age soundscape. (I know one of Mariuz' heroes is Vangelis.) In the eighteenth minute, then, we move over into the more relaxing, bluesy side of the 21st Century New Age psychedelia--like a cross of old Pink Floyd with At 20:50 Mariuz starts a whole new song with vocalise, and a catchy multi-chord progression strummed by his electric guitar. This is cool. This is a difficult song to rate because of its multiple themes and palette choices. In the 26th minute, Mellotron like vocal banks introduce a kind of Gregorian-chant version of the original sound scape complete with a long decaying synth finish. (47.5/55)

Total Time 36:37

With bonus material = B+/four stars; still an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you are A) a lover of Mariuz Duda's voice and B) you like the pagan folk vibe ?la FAUN and WARDRUNA.

 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars Through Shaded Woods does not sound like other Lunatic Soul releases, but it is still a solo project for Mariusz Duda for his superb vocals, and all instruments, effects, and sounds. The first thing that stands out is the aural candy. Yes it sounds great, like previous efforts. However, it is less of an electronic sounding album with more of a folk or world vibe. The compositions are still sparse, and build up in all the right places. With all the layers in each track, it is easy to discover things with each listen. Mariusz likes to add sounds that are new and refreshing, and there are some choices that are odd at first until it becomes evident how it is layered in with other instruments. Through Shaded Woods is one of the better Lunatic Soul releases, and a must for fans of any other album in the catalog. Highly recommended.
 Through Shaded Woods by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.09 | 120 ratings

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Through Shaded Woods
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There is nothing else quite like the thrill of entering into the world of Lunatic Soul. Well, it's less of a thrill, and more of a sacred joy, or at least that is how it feels sometimes. Lunatic Soul is back with a new album, called "Through Shaded Woods", and I imagine that it will be remembered as one of the best. The album releases on November 13th through Kscope.

Lunatic Soul is the original solo output for Mariusz Duda of Riverside. I still remember first hearing the LS debut and falling instantly in love with this very different side of his musical expression. Over the years, the project has explored folk, post-prog, electronic, and Gothic ideas, gathering all of these concepts into one mysterious and hazy experience. Indeed, there is a romance and a hidden sentiment in every single album that rouses my love for enigma, spirituality, and gravity. In fact, the lyrics and storyline for this project are so complex and yet so powerfully emotive that I still haven't attempted to write a spotlight for any of them. This project is both painstakingly human as well as blissfully otherworldly, and I cherish that.

With "Through Shaded Woods", Mariusz has returned somewhat to the sound of the first two records. Now, I say "somewhat" because this record doesn't just explore vague folkish ideas, aka Dead Can Dance, but employs that darkness to explore Scandinavian folk music very specifically with all the evocation and wonder that it deserves. Mariusz is a big fan of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and so you will hear that mountainous sound throughout the album, but also the green of hushed forests and fantastical creatures. I especially love the moments where Mariusz pays tribute to the Dragon Shouts from Skyrim with utter class and melody.

As usual, no electric guitars are present on this album, though Mariusz does manipulate his trusty bass to sound like distorted electric guitar at a few points. This album is heavy in that regard, though still retaining the spacious, murky whiteness of Lunatic Soul II. Indeed, this album is most at home with itself with tumultuous percussion, raging bass, and unnervingly peaceful atmospheres creating layers of beauty and light, darkness and sadness, faith and courage.

There are two things I need to mention about the music here. First, this might be the best vocal performance of Mariusz's career thus far. He certainly has one of my favorite voices ever, but I just feel something more colorful, more melodic, and more harmonious in his vocals on this album. His voice is truly a beacon of light here, and I have to admit that I've been deeply impressed by his diction and articulation. Most people wouldn't notice that, I know, but there are moments when Mariusz pronounces each and every sound in a word with such effortless precision and clarity that my love for language grows just a little.

Secondly, while this album may rely on thundering percussion, voluptuous bass, and serene keys at times, the real star of the show is Mariusz's acoustic guitar. He weaves folk melodies with such care and fleeting exactitude on almost every song, playing with illustrious skill and festive feeling. Honestly, it makes me want to dance sometimes, which isn't like me. Not since witnessing Steve Hackett's 12-string guitar skills live have I been so mesmerized by acoustic playing.

Lyrically, "Through Shaded Woods" is absolutely wonderful. I honestly haven't figured out Mariusz's map of where each album fits in his timeline, but I can still make out the general feelings here. This album seems to mention the afterlife ferryman's warning in "The Final Truth" from the debut. This warning was that the protagonist had to make a choice: to keep or lose his memories of life. If he chose to keep them, his loved ones would forget him. If he chose to lose his memories, he would be remembered forever. This album seems to take place directly after Lunatic Soul II, then, as that album was the protagonist's entrance into the afterlife. "Through Shaded Woods" sees our friend learning to cope with the things he has seen and felt. He is living his afterlife, more or less, and he seems to be reaching out to his lover in his past life. The lyrics are therefore quite sorrowful and introspective, yet I find them to be confident and daring, too. Our friend is beginning to have faith, something that has eluded him in life. He especially seems to have faith that he will see his love again one day, if only he can let go of her for the moment.

The full version of "Through Shaded Woods" has two discs. The first disc is the main part of the album, coming to six tracks. The second disc has three bonus tracks, which I believe is a necessary part of the album, especially if you are already a fan. We've all heard the two singles, "Navvie" and "The Passage", both of which are excellent. I love the winding mystery of the former, especially Mariusz's smooth vocals. The latter is like a progressive epic in some ways, despite only be 9 minutes long. I love the various transitions and the heavy portion, but I think the acoustic guitar steals the spotlight.

The rest of the album is just as good. The title track is dark and mysterious for the first half before transitioning into some truly phenomenal vocal lines. I love how his voice interweaves with the keys at the end. "Oblivion" (maybe another ode to Elder Scrolls?) was my favorite after first listen. This track has the Dragon Shouts and a very folkish atmosphere and rhythm. I love how that rhythm remains, unrelenting, for the entire track, and everything else happens along that touchstone. "Summoning Dance" is a ten-minute track that is delicate and truly lovely, not to mention having some of the best lyrics. It has a iron ton of bass in its blood, and the rising acoustic rhythm peaks near the end with some atmospheric keys that remind me of "Walking on a Flashlight Beam".

The final track is called "The Fountain", and it is certainly one of my favorite songs of the year. For one thing, it makes me cry every time I hear it. The song is so full of heartbreak and loss, longing and passion, that I cannot help but empathize. Yet, it is full of confidence and patience, too. This song is mostly just an acoustic ballad, but Mariusz sings magnificently, and the lyrics are so potent. In the second half, a sweeping tide of feelings, keyboards, and piano takes us away to another place, and everything sounds simply perfect.

The second disc does not lack in quality. The first couple songs, "Vyraj" and "Hylophobia" (fear of forests), are pounding, boisterous affairs. You will rollick right along with the folk rhythms; they are definitely fun tracks. Then comes "Transition2", a twenty-seven minute experience. This song feels like a tribute to the entire discography, to the places we've been and the visions we've seen. You will hear familiar snippets of past LS songs, only re-recorded and played and sung differently. The song is mostly new, however, with those snippets just providing structure. Overall, it does indeed remind me of "Transition", which happens to be my favorite LS track for various reasons. This sequel passes through many moods and places, some riveting and tumultuous, and some peaceful and quieting. It is a beautiful song, one that I need to explore even more.

"Through Shaded Woods" feels like the grand culmination of everything Lunatic Soul has worked to create. While it focuses on folk sounds, I feel like each and every LS album is important to how this one was created. Mariusz has definitely been busy this year, and he has outdone himself with this moving masterpiece.

Originally posted on theprogmind.com

 Under The Fragmented Sky by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.64 | 105 ratings

BUY
Under The Fragmented Sky
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars Mariusz Duda is without any doubt one of the most prolific and creative forces in progressive music right now. For several years, alongside his band mates in Riverside and through out Lunatic Soul, he has become a leader, about creativity, experimenting with sounds, melodies, soundscapes, and what the musician can do with his bass or keyboards. For me this give his music such a distinctive sound and personality. Pure gold in progressive music in my humble opinion. Under the Fragmented Sky, the 6th Lunatic Soul full album is a continuation to the highly praised Fractured. Mariusz develops the dark atmosphere even further while developing the general concept flowing through its predecessor.

Under the Fragmented Sky was originally going to be a maxi-single, but Duda took the brave decision to give these songs a life of their own by shaping them into a full-length album, completing the journey started in "Fractured".

The listener is greeted with 'He av en', which is a savory appetizer for what's to come. Lunatic Soul's music at its best. Bass lines heavily distorted, in a melody that morphs into rhythms with vocalized harmonies. Slow beat of tambourine, and more melodies overlapping but never covering the other, join all together to create a beautiful soundscape. Trials open the way to the electronic side of Duda's dark compositions and musical atmospheres. Here we're given a lyric line repeated in a robotic way, almost nonstop in different harmonies and ranges. The flowing melody seems to me extracted from any Riverside song but then taken apart and rebuilt with sounds, effects and rhythms. This is classic in Lunatic Soul's experimentation. Towards the second half, the song turns darker with ominous vocal sounds. The keyboard and guitar melodies that any Tangerine Dream fan would love. Sorrow is a short transitional song with acoustic guitar and atmospheric ghost-like sounds, opening the doors for the title track Under the Fragmented Sky. The title-track which takes its name comes from 'A Thousand Shards of Heaven' from Fractured, is a beautiful yet sad song but musically stunning. Lyrically I understand it as the struggle between succumbing to fears and anger or to remain true to oneself despite our losses. I believe this song might be one of the most personal ones for Duda's after all the tragedy and transformation he has gone through over the last couple of years. Many of us can easily identify with this struggle, that's why it moves every fiber of my heart. The song closes returning to the same melody from He av en, but in a different key. Honoring the dark nature of this album, 'Shadows' starts with a very dark atmosphere. The main melody, threading through the song could have been on any Riverside album, but how Duda is able to turn melodies, sounds and effects into such atmospheres is something he is absolutely a genius at. Like Shadows Raising the Night' continues this voyage through dark realms full of shades and colored lights. Here we're offered more color and more complex rhythms aided by cymbal sounds and strings. Mariusz vocalization joins to guide us calling our curiosity to be awakened to find its own path. The Art of Repairing contains off-beat electronic sounds like broken machines. Together they slowly form a rhythm and melodies. Like a machine finding new life thanks to its own errors when masterfully repaired by allowing it just to flow. Progression at its finest. Closing this journey, 'Untamed' is the second and last song with full lyrics on this remarkable album. It has a more positive vibe. This very personal song is more a flag of hope showing us that not all is darkness in this world. It tells us that we all have our strengths within ourselves, no matter how dark the night is, there's always ways to win our fights and defeat our demons. What a way to close this album. Mariusz Duda has done it again. He has given us another masterpiece of progressive experimentation that is full of emotions. Once again musically he gave us the chance to witness an even darker journey through feelings and emotions, but delivering us into light again with our hopes for what's to come.

The future is bright for us.

 Under The Fragmented Sky by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.64 | 105 ratings

BUY
Under The Fragmented Sky
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Released in May 2018, Riverside bassist/frontman Mariusz Duda marks the first decade of his solo project Lunatic Soul with his sixth album under that alias, `Under The Fragmented Sky', and it couldn't be more appropriately titled. It constantly diverts between darker moods with uplifting hopeful passages, and lyrically is wistfully romantic and optimistic to answer the gloomier soundtracks behind it, and despite sharing a lyric from a track off the previous album `Fractured' and mostly originating from the same 2016/17 sessions, `...Sky' stands perfectly well on its own and is hardly mere `leftovers'. With about three quarters of the disc being instrumental, this particular LS disc mixes dark electronica and ambient styles, percussion- heavy brooding, vocal drones and superior balladry, making for another intelligent and varied emotional work from the Polish artist.

`He-av-en' unhurriedly wraps wordless sighing vocal loops around ethereal synth washes, simple percussion taps and chiming guitar strains together for an intriguing opener. `Trials' mixes purring vocal twitching and electronic glitches to take on a hypnotic shimmer that eventually melts into stormy shadowy rumbles, then `Sorrow' is all delicate electric piano tiptoes and an introspective soothing vocal cry from Mariusz. His title-track is an acoustic/electric tune sung passionately with intimate reflection ("Isolation, all my anger, regret...they're gone. I feel stronger...and it stopped the feeling I'm crumbling apart..."), and pretty multi-tracked harmonies, haunting piano and weeping exquisite guitar reaches lift the piece even higher.

`Shadows' reverberates with menacing machine programming that takes on a light-industrial coolness locking in pensive acoustic guitar ringing and slithering bass, an aching eastern-flavoured dustiness infiltrating the piece and into the following `Rinsing the Night', with an eerie blend of clipping pulsing beats and exotic percussion. `The Art of Repairing' is the highlight of the disc, a chilled slink through mellow electronica and head-nodding beats. The closer is then a lovely farewell ballad, and although Duda and Riverside are (still) ignorantly dismissed as Porcupine Tree clones by some, in this instance `Untamed' sounds very much like a Steven Wilson outtake, even down to the alternating electric/acoustic passages and gorgeous piano! Thankfully it's still beautifully sung with genuine warmth conveying the words, and it makes for an embracing and reassuring wrap to the album.

Although a fairly short (but wonderfully vinyl-length!) work at about thirty-seven minutes, and the third and fourth discs `Impressions' and especially `Walking on a Flashlight Beam' are the superior artistic statements under the Lunatic Soul banner so far, `...Sky' is perhaps the most intimate and subdued. Considering the difficult personal circumstances Mariusz has been around the last few years, the solemn reflection with traces of hope and an appreciation for life permeating the disc lift it even higher, helping make `Under The Fragmented Sky' a renewing, evocative and tasteful release from a smart and thoughtful artist.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

 Under The Fragmented Sky by LUNATIC SOUL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.64 | 105 ratings

BUY
Under The Fragmented Sky
Lunatic Soul Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars LUNATIC SOUL Under the Fragmented Sky

Mariuz is experimenting with looping and sampling--especially with his voice.

1. "He av En" (4:05) looped vocal tracks with percussives, bass, and guitar. (8/10)

2. "Trials" (5:44) several vocal loops and keyboard and bass riffs over a simple metronomic computer snare track. I like the bass and synth line of the final two minutes--that's when the song finally comes to life. (8.5/10)

3. "Sorrow" (1:30) acoustic nylon string guitar with spacey synth noises and wordless, breathy, upper register vocal. (4/5)

4. "Under the Fragmented Sky" (5:03) Mariuz singing from the beginning with cadence support of the strumming of two (and later three) guitars. Second verse has a second, separate vocal woven within the melody and words of the first. At the end of the second chorus bass, piano, and synths thicken the soundscape while fuzzed guitar plays a slow, melodic solo. Then we return to the opening movement before a break lets in some odd vocalizations and bass line and piano. This plays out till the song's end as voices fade into the background and piano stays up front, alone. (9/10)

5. "Shadows" (4:31) heavy, spacey, atmospheric, synths and tuned percussives play at both ends of the audio spectrum before more of the same and bass join in to add some more filler to the middle ranges. Guitar joins in at the beginning of the second minute. There is an industrial, minimalist feel to this instrumental music. The sections cycle around in an A-B-A-C sequence with horn-like synth in the second "verse" section and twangy guitars filling the spacious final section. (7.5/10)

6. "Rinsing the Night" (3:56) acoustic guitars feel indie-folk, even southern folk-bluegrass. Household and synthesized percussives and bass join in in the second minute. Vocalise and other lines are one-by-one mixed into the weave. Picked acoustic guitar takes the lead in the final minute before returning to within the weave for the end. (8/10)

7. "The Art of Repairing" (7:54) keyboard activated vocal and industrial noise samples open this song, forming a bit of a Laurie Anderson-like weave. In the second minute, keys, cymbols, and multiple synths join in, changing the dynamics and feel. Once things settle down, a KRAFTWERK-like rhythm base has been established over which multiple vocal samples are activated, alternated, interwoven, and rotated. All of the sounds rotated into this piece (except the vocal samples) seem as if updated versions of old electronica sounds. I wonder if Mariuz has ever heard the albums by Jean-Michel Jarre and Claire Hammill, Zoolook from 1984 and Voices from 1986, respectively. They far accomplish more than what he's trying to do on this album. (8/10)

8. "Untamed" (3:24) opening like SEAL's "Crazy," this one evolves into a more straightforward prog pop song. A good song. More like this, please. (8.5/10)

3.5 stars; a fair addition to a prog rock lover's music collection--depending on whether or not you wish to put in for some conservative exploration of old technologies.

Thanks to dean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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