Tech Death Thursday: Moonloop
We managed to make it a whole week without featuring something weird! We can’t have that becoming a regular thing, though, so here’s some prog. Let’s jam the new Moonloop.
- Fractal Universe has a new song out from their upcoming full-length, Engram of Decline. It has a bit of a mid-paced Gorod feel to it, which is awesome. Look for that on April 14th.
- The rad dudes in Seismic have a new single coming out tomorrow that you can check out over at that other Tech Death T-Day column. It’s big and nasty, and I eagerly await news of an album.
- If you like your tech a bit blackened, then check out the video for Singularity’s “One With the Swarm.” If you somehow missed it the first time around, you can listen to the rest of their Void Walker EP right here.
- John Frum has a creepy new tune from A Stirring in the Noos, out on May 12th. If you haven’t already, you should also give last week’s podcast a listen, featuring an interview with bassist Liam Wilson (also of Dillinger Escape Plan).
- If you’re in the mood for some brutal death, check out the new video from Cryogenetic.
- I hadn’t heard of Forceps until recently, but their newest single has me interested. “Atrocities” takes some cues from Gorguts’ “Obscura,” but keeps it much more death metal than skronk.
- All good things must come to an end, and that is no less true for Kronos. The band will be playing their final show at Asylum Metal Fest on April 1st.
- In better news, there still isn’t a shortage of awesome brutal death metal bands. Check out “Aftermath,” the newest song from Logic of Denial, and look for the full album on June 9th.
This Toilet Tuesday has exposed me to far more shit music than anyone should ever have to listen to over the past couple years (this is why I’m an alcoholic), but it has also presented me with a vast number of brilliant artists I never would have heard otherwise. It’s how I came across Moonloop, a sweet progressive metal outfit from Barcelona. The jaunty tapped intro to “Medusa” caught my attention, and I made a mental note to return to it. Needless to say, I’m glad I did.
Moonloop’s Bandcamp page dispenses with genre labels and simply references three other bands: Between the Buried and Me, Gojira, and Opeth. I’m always a little leery of bands that do this- these tags are usually dubious at best and are generally trying to drum up hype rather than describe the sound- but they are actually fair points of comparison for Devocean. It has the colossal grooves of Gojira coupled with the moody atmosphere of middle-years Opeth and BTBAM’s tendency to venture off into experimental territory. It’s an eclectic mixture of styles that comes together to form something wholly different from its constituent parts.
The result of this combination sounds to me like the metallized equivalent of a classic monster movie; if the subtle creepiness of Opeth is The Haunting, the power and bombast of their other two touchstones make Moonloop more akin to The Wolf Man. All the diminished triads and harmonic minor riffs you’d expect are there, but they’re delivered with pummeling ferocity. They don’t entirely dispense with subtlety; the band likes to slowly stalk through the shadows with a more reserved approach before bursting from cover and going straight for the throat with a monstrous headbanging groove. No build-up is too long, and the payoff is always gratifying.
Of course, it’s not all bristling fur and snarling fangs; the band has a much more thoughtful side as well. Vocalist Eric Baulenas has an excellent singing voice to match his growl, and while it’s used secondary to his screams, it always leaves a powerful impact. Clean guitars are also prominent, though used much in the same way as the sung vocals; sparingly, but with great effect. Even when the band is at their heaviest, they never feel entirely feral; the riffs are complex and unorthodox even when conforming to standard structure, and everything feels measured and directed. That said, the lighter parts are never entirely free of tension, either. The clean vocals and guitar in “Zeal” are underpinned with an adventurous bass and pounding drum line, and the major key opening and closing of “Oceans” bookend one of the heaviest songs on the album.
This description, coupled with the long song lengths (the album clocks in just under an hour with eight songs), might sound like a recipe for gratuitous self-service, but I assure you there isn’t any wasted space on Devocean. The band doesn’t break for any extended jam sessions or pointless solos, and the music is constantly evolving from one point to the next. Nothing is done without the goal of moving the music forward, making the album feel tight and streamlined in spite of its length. In a way, this is a prog album for people who hate prog; it cuts out all the bullshit and leaves only what is necessary without sacrificing any of the impressive musicianship or underlying vision.
Devocean is out now and is available through Listenable Records at either their Bandcamp or webstore. If you like what you heard today, stop by Moonloop’s Facebook and show them some love. That’s all for this week, so until next time,
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