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Thursday, July 31, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Partly Cloudy


Luna Mortis are back in action

Let the roaring commence.
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Madison metal band Luna Mortis recently announced that they'll reunite after nearly three years of silence.

The group released their 2009 album, The Absence, on the prominent metal label Century Media. At the time, it seemed they deserved a shot at broader recognition, on the strength of guitarist Brian Koenig's mix of death-metal rhythms and anthemic melodies, and vocalist Mary Zimmer's corresponding balance of preened-clean vocals and ferocious roars. But not long after, Century dropped the band, who subsequently broke up.

Plans for this year include a July 20 "homecoming" show at the Regent Street Retreat and a spot on the roster of Dame-Nation, a festival of female-fronted bands happening in Chicago this August. Zimmer and guitarist Cory Scheider also recorded an acoustic version of "This Departure," a track from The Absence. The band say more new material will follow this summer.

Zimmer wouldn't discuss how the Century deal and the band fell apart in 2010. I wonder if the label and its audience didn't quite know how to approach a group that straddled two sides of metal: the extreme one and the more sleek and approachable one. What matters is that Luna Mortis have made both aspects of their sound complement each other. I was never quite sure if The Absence meshed with my own tastes, but as I let it sink in, its formidable execution grew on me. I named it one of the best Madison-made records of 2009 in the local edition of The Onion's A.V Club section.

Zimmer is optimistic about moving forward as an independent band.

"We have total control over our scheduling, booking, rehearsals and recordings without the label," she says. "The best part is owning your music and profiting from it. This was our model prior to being signed to Century Media, when we were still called the Ottoman Empire."

Indeed, there have been many good signs for hard rock in Madison this year: Romero's new album, Panther's increasingly frequent gigs, local band Jex Thoth's upcoming release on Swedish label I Hate Records. Even if Luna Mortis never get another big break, it's good to see them making mayhem once again.

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