Louna - Behind A Mask
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Record Label: Red Decade
Hard rock is a pretty polarizing genre. Especially for a band with a female vocalist. So it’s good for Louna that their singer, Lousine “Lou” Gevorkian, is good and they’re pretty big in their native country of Russia. Behind a Mask is more of a compilation than a real studio album, ten tracks previously released by the band translated into English to serve as an introduction to American listeners.
What really captures the listener is the vocal prowess of Gevorkian. Throughout the album there are less than twenty seconds of pitch correction in total, which is rather impressive upon listening. She shouts roughly on tracks like the scathing “Fight Club,” then turns around and croons confidently on songs like “Storming Heaven.” At times her screaming can be grating, but it is used sparsely, so that’s not much of a problem, and she sounds kind of nasally in the chorus of, “The End of Peace,” but moments like the intro of “Mama” can make up for such infrequent slip-ups.
The actual band’s good too, though. First single “Business” features seamless tempo changes, “Let’s Get Louder” is led by Leonid “Pilot” Kinzbursky’s drumwork. “Fight Club” features a harsh lead riff that fades into a punk-ish setting. Louna can slow things down too though, as closer “Inside” proves. Unsurprisingly, the track is led by Gevorkian’s soft vocals and provides a much-appreciated contrast to the previous nine angry tracks.
If the band is strong in the musical categories, Louna falls short in the lyrical department. Of course, when bassist Vitaly Demidenko first penned these lyrics, he did so in Russian, and the English ones presented here are not direct translations. Either way, it’s a little ridiculous how many songs on this record reference “rock’n’roll” and how many times “Fight Club” uses the word pain (yes I understand it’s a reference to the movie…).The main lyrical themes touched upon are religion (or a lack thereof) and how rock’n’roll saved the narrator’s life. As in “My Rock’n’Roll,” Gevorkian sings, “Gimme a groove that’ll bring down the stars/ I need distortion from guitars,” it’s evident where the band’s collective heart lies.
Louna’s Behind a Mask will not be accessible to a great many people, given its genre and style. Those who can listen to it will enjoy it and place it alongside their Scars on Broadway, Queens of the Stone Age, or even inevitably Halestorm records.
“In 2008 our world collided/ into chaos and airwaves, hip-hop/ in that fall was when Louna decided/ all together this has to stop.”