05 Sep 2022 - Thorsten
(Atmospheric) Black Metal | Release date: 23 Sep 2022 | Favorite song: The Beast That Mourned at the Heart of the Mountain
There surely has been no shortage of good American black metal bands but come on, one can never have too many good Black Metal bands, right? And if they show some Death Metal influences on their sleeves? Even better. Mo‘ynoq from Raleigh, North Carolina check these boxes and also offer some Pacific Northwestern tinges and even some Classic Rock sounds on their new album A Place for Ash.
Drummer Justin Valletta should receive a huge round of applause for all the blood, sweat and tears he must have poured into the recording of A Place for Ash - well, maybe not blood and tears, but surely a lot of sweat. Not that the other members of Mo’ynoq cannot keep, but Justin surely drives the music on these five songs in which the band is able to pinpoint their influences with some very thin needles. This is their second full-length, following 2019’s Dreaming in a Dead Language and it surely has several more than promising moments.
Before anyone asks, the name has got nothing to do with a Native American tribe or something, but it is the name of a city in Western Uzbekistan which once was located right on the Aral Sea but which is now not anymore nowadays due to the withdrawal of the shoreline due to ecological problems made by man.
When the record opens with some bone-marrow-shaking screams by vocalist, the whole band follows suit with a more than fitting blackened death-metal passage that clarifies that they are in it for the kill and the listener is the prey being lured into their traps aka their miraculous brew which slows down the fingers and pulls them away from any remote one might touch. Over the course of the next forty minutes, they give us a lot of perfectly timed growls and, to balance it all out, also some well-placed high-pitched screams. And even though Justin is giving it all and probably breaking many drumsticks along the way, one should acknowledge that not everything is pedal to the metal. Moments like the middle part of ”Synchromysticism” show that atmospheric black metal can still be raging as hell and have a lot of groove. The same applies for ”Throes of Ardent Disposition”, which has a wonderful punkish section to it, which is classic metal as much as it is black metal.
However, the atmospheric density never reaches a higher level than during the last track, ”The Beast that Mourned at the Heart of the Mountain”, a title that would have fit on any album by Wolves in the Throne Room. Soundwise, there are also some similarities between the kings of Pacific Northwestern Atmospheric Black Metal and Mo’ynoq. The song surely takes its time to establish a kind of foggy, mysterious surrounding with a lot of diverse guitar lines fighting for the reigns once the beast is unleashed – again, here the title track is a pretty good description of the song structure. When the guitar adds some well-made solo, one is already deep into the track and doesn’t want to turn around anymore anyway. And here, the timing of the drums and rhythm section must be perfect because some of the leads are minuscule, and the changing patterns come so quickly that it is kind of a miracle how Justin and bass player Devin Janus keep track of everything.
This record is for anyone with a slight interest in blackened Death Metal with some highly atmospheric elements that surely make for a diversified listening experience. Mo’ynoq – another remarkable American Black Metal band, guys!