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Date d'inscription: juillet 2009
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Moonreich – Pillars of Detest

Paradoxically, that part of a band’s identity which sticks around longest—their name—is usually flippantly decided upon and denied the same level of debate that probably goes into the musical end or even that of song titles or artwork. In certain genres, the question has to be asked: Do names even matter? It’s arguable that with metal bands especially, names have become little more than a symbol of or signpost for their particular subgenre and individual philosophy within it. Take grindcore, for instance: There are lots of one or two-word monikers that are punchy, violent, and abrupt. In effect, a name is a mere sorting tool as one could take an educated guess at which end of the metal spectrum Meathook Seed lurked within, for instance, while the name Asking Alexandria is probably all you need to know to keep your distance.

As a name, Moonreich, Iron Sky jokes aside, immediately caught my attention. Seemingly a reference to the conspiracy theory that ambitious Nazi research into propulsion engines and primitive space travel enabled parts of the regime to escape Earth via Antarctica to flourish either on another planet or—and not without tongue firmly in cheek—the moon, it’s a fittingly outlandish and far-fetched brand for this French group’s robust yet seamless blend of influences. Heaving too many different flavours into the dish doesn’t always work, especially within such a conservative genre as black metal, yet each shift and bulge in sound that Moonreich explores feels worthwhile and, impressively, successful.

Take opener ‘Ad Naseum’, which slinks in with off-kilter progressive drumming and only makes its dramatic exit before blazing through black metal, progressive metal again, and punk all while retaining a Celtic Frost-like solidity to these dabblings. It’s a hedonistic blend—very much a project following its instincts and doing so with enough confidence in its abilities to pull it off. Instrumental ‘Sheitan’ is perfectly placed as respite from the brutality of the preceding track, effortlessly tempering chiming clarity with the chug of firm riffage. Indeed, a similar trick is pulled off on the excellent ‘All Born Sick’, which matches some hammering keyboard with what is possibly the album’s thickest riffing.


In terms of black metal influences, an immediate touchstone is Marduk and perhaps a less sonically phlegm-plagued Gorgoroth; these tools are well-sharpened points but possess an intricacy and sense of pacing which allows their mid-tempo tracks to really gather a lot of menacing momentum, growing more and more vicious as layers are built up (such as standout ‘Believe and Behead’) and tactfully subtracted.

When Moonreich does get its head down and go for it (as on the title track or the ultra-violent ‘Freikorps’), it’s pointedly effective and, while lacking in wild abandon, never anything less than solid even when allowing for each track to progress and digress organically. I’m reminded of a grittier Kampfar on their 2011 Mare LP, insomuch as it boasts clean riffs and is clearly a blast to listen to, although Pillars of Detest benefits from a subterranean gloom, perhaps due to brief passages of murky ambience and subtle textures throughout closer ‘Death Winged Majesty’.

Moonreich unambiguously delivers here, providing some enjoyably progressive black metal that doesn’t lose its way or skimp on ideas. In fact, it’s bursting with stunningly intelligent and varied compositions smuggled in under the guise of sheer brutality. If the esoteric dabblings of countrymen Blut Aus Nord are a step too far, Moonreich offers a quick-witted and satisfying alternative.
Track List:

01) As Nauseam
02) Believe & Behead
03) Long Time Awaited Funeral
04) Sheitan
05) Pillar of Detest – World Shroud
06) All Born Sick
07) Freikorps
08) Death Winged Majesty

Written by: Simon Gould
Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions (France) / AO-033 / CD, 12″ LP, Tape, Digital
Black Metal
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