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Lunatic Soul's Through Shaded Woods celebrates the ancient and the elemental

Mariusz Duda's prog-metal side project Lunatic Soul gets root-and-branch overhaul on Through Shaded Woods

Lunatic Soul – Through Shaded Woods
(Image: © KScope)

Riverside singer/bassist Mariusz Duda has long used his Lunatic Soul alias as an outlet to explore musical territory away from his main band’s grandstanding art-rock. 

His seventh album under that name sees him veering sharply away from Lunatic Soul’s brooding electronic textures towards something more ancient and elemental.

Inspired by the forests and landscapes of rural Poland where Duda grew up, Through Shaded Woods sounds like it has beamed in from some long-forgotten age.

There’s an unearthly beauty to Oblivion’s ritualistic drums and wordless chants, and the title track is a shamanic hymnal that ends with the crunch of footsteps on a woodland floor. 

But the Countryfile-goes-native reveries are punctured by the odd burst of jarring distortion and Duda’s heavily treated vocals, a reminder that, as enticing as the past may be, you can never escape the present.