Released on the 25th Dec, ok. Well some people get Xmas cards in the post but I got an album by Pissboiler, not that I’m complaining. It gave me some interesting listening over the festering period and as for Lucid Nightmares, they seem to never be far away either. With the name of the band I was expecting something nasty and sludge laden although the hard to decipher logo makes one think this could be a cult black metal act. Actually these three Swedes who contain a couple of members of Snailking in their ranks adopt neither style. There’s four tracks here, some ghastly artwork and all manner of horror lurking within.

First track ‘Ruins Of The Past’ at almost 18 minutes long, is a bit of a monster. Fuzzy bass gets speakers shaking and a melody that reminds of Paradise Lost gradually rises. This is definitely doom but as things slowly proceed and some of the most rugged and weathered vocals heard in a long time join in it is very much at the funeral end of the spectrum. I took a quick look to see if Greg Chandler’s name was attached to this in any way (it’s not) and settled in to the bleak melody lines and crushing slow weight of the track. You know what, it’s actually quite peaceful and mellow as it all rumbles away, this is a case of settling into a deep sleep before the terror and nightmares hit and I am more than happy to drift along to it. Come to think of it the vocals could be snores, reminds me of an ex a bit. The acoustic part on this certainly seems to back the sleepy time vibe to it all and there are some sounds that are very much like someone just starting to saw wood.

Short piece ‘Stealth’ perhaps marks the transition into the dreamtime with acoustic meandering fretwork going round and round for 3 minutes then the claws come out with ‘Pretend It Will End’ and things start to crawl out the woodwork. Guitar work starts out gently enough, I can’t help thinking of a dusky Western with the twang of them, let’s face it this is a normal enough motif along with water themes associated with Funeral Doom. Chants and tempo are raised and things begin to take on unholy textures as roars rise and it’s not long before we are in the nightmare zone and things become all the more unsettling. Still it’s all very subtle and disconcerting as the trio are in no rush here. Juddering riffs may still prove slow but there’s variation in vocals with some higher snarls, gravid background roars and a tolling bell clamouring away and striking terror into our sleepers head. Last number ‘Cutters’ offers a coping mechanism but not an advisable one as we hear an interview based around someone getting relief by cutting themselves, as the title suggests. Musically we go into deep sleep territories via drone and we are very much in ‘the dreadful hours’ for its quarter of an hour duration. Anyone who has found themselves in sleep paralysis or woken themselves up with tremors so great, the bed is shaking may well identify with exactly what (I perceive) the band to be projecting musically here. It’s not pleasant but in a way I found it all quite identifiable and in context found the music was perhaps talking to me.

Only the sun can wield mercy but for the duration of this there is little in the way of light, god help all that venture into its hallucinatory depths.

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)