Luca Bluefire Himmel: A Long Cold Winter [Album Review]

Himmel   Luca Bluefire’s debut album “Himmel: A Long Cold Winter,” is a superbly crafted artistic collaboration. The album, which was released February 15th, introduces an array of vocalists, each voice interpreting the instrumental sounds that Luca weaves together, making it their own. The result: a fresh,  well-balanced piece of work.

Himmel opens with the atmospheric sounds of “Reverie.” The overall vibe is peaceful. Aurora Sebastiani’s operatic vocals and Luca’s trance-inducing guitar licks perfectly fit the theme of a song that’s definition is literally “Being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts.”

I was suddenly shaken awake from my near dreamlike state as I was instantly introduced to the rebellious, do-what-it-feels-like second track that is“Promises.” From the thumping kicks to the growling guitar, this track is the most unique out of the bunch. The real strength here is its catchy chorus, where the vocalist Mak Others really shines as she harmonizes with Luca’s guitar breaks; The aggressive gut-punching guitar strings, where Luca showcases his rock roots; and the overall song composition.

“Give me Life” and “The Dark” are much like Reverie in the sense that they both emit the same atmospheric, almost psychedelic feeling. Not to mention they also feature female vocalists Lola De Hana and Millie Guam respectively.

Distorted synths and airy guitar melodies open up “Magneto,” Luca’s first instrumental track.   Next to “Promises,” “Magneto” is the closest track to nearly get you off your heiny to bust a groove. The chord progression introduced later in the mix is noticeably simplistic compared to the superb guitar melody, but the overall product is enjoyable.

In “Shatter” Luca opens with lonesome strings which are later accompanied by a cross-melodic, aggressive growl of chords. This is the first–not to mention–only song that Luca laces his vocals with. Interestingly, this is the most well-balanced song on the entire album. The vocals are clean, melodic, and the breaks never slow down the overall relaxing aura of the song. I’m not gonna’ lie, there were times I felt the the urge to close my eyes and unconsciously sway my body like a wet noodle (a wet noodle with rhythm at least). “Blackest Hearts” is the longest of the bunch, coming in under seven minutes.

The militaristic drum patterns, solemn guitar strings, and somber spoken words of Jason Bradley provokes the feeling of unrest and contemplation, yet it emanates utter bliss. That and it bears probably the strongest guitar solo the album has to offer.

Himmel wraps up the album with one final instrumental “Snow Glitters.” The minimal layers makes this track  have a sense of vulnerability. Its soft-spoken guitar plucks are accompanied by a single cross-melodic instrument. The sound is risky, but it works.

There is no doubt that Luca had a well-crafted vision for Himmel. What could have easily felt like a grab bag of artist features really came together as a solid collaboration. It would have been great to hear more of Luca’s craftsmanship behind the guitar–which is undoubtedly his strength–but he more than makes up for it with composition, well-crafted transitions, and great production quality. You can find the album here.

Rating: 3.75/5 Songs to look out for: “Promises,” “Shatter,” “Blackest Hearts,” “Snow Glitters”

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