Moss of Moonlight
Ok, I must admit - I was biased when I saw the image of this american duo. When I saw the cover art of this EP and learnt something about their music and lyrical concept my bias has only increased. You see, Moss of Moonlight plays Black/Folk metal, with many female vocals. Additionaly the musicians are married. Because of that I was expecting a complete disaster, dressed up in some gothic or pseudoromantic attire.
Fortunetely I was totally wrong, and once again I've learnt that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Yes, there are many female vocal parts, but they don't sound like another UnSun. MoM focuses on creating a ritualistic, pagan atmosphere close to neofolk projects like e.g. Wardruna. Most of the tracks are pretty long (lasting more than 10 minutes), and so there is a lot going on here. Traditional instruments are being used frugally, and thanks to that the specific atmosphere of this EP is only highlighted - I really don't think so that noisy, fast folk parts would fits here. If you don't believe me just listen to the last track on this release, and you will understeand me. "Hraefne" is a track almost completely composed in neofolk/ambient vain - but this shamanistic attitude is present in every song.
Mentioned female vocals are very often the element creating folk, a bit nostalgic atmosphere (like e.g. in the first track "Gaet" or middle part of "Catte"). Together with many slow guitar solo passages it sounds very interesting. Jenn (a vocalist) is often supported in singing by her bandmate Cavan. He sings both harsh and clean vocals, and I must say that I like both of these styles, especially when they turns into this more haunted, shamanistic areas.
A black metal parts neatly interweave with those ritualistic ones. The music flows very smoothly, and it's a true pleasure to listen to it. The only thing that I have mixed feelings about are the moments when a band sounds a bit like some power metal from Finland - and this stick mostly to the opening track "Gaet". This song seems to be a bit messed up - when I listen to it I always have the impression that in some moments the band doesn't know what they want to do. The music looses (ironicaly) immediately the power, and unfortunetely smear the musical concept. Too bad, happily each additional track is getting better and better. There is a hope that another album will be created without such failures.
Moss of Moonlight created a good album, mixing many of their inspirations into the interesting dish, flavoured by a pinch of originality. It tastes pretty good, although I hope that another material will be a truly satiating portion of some musical masterpiece.