(Todd Manning provides this review of a debut EP by the Texas band Monte Luna.)
Austin, Texas duo Monte Luna have just released their debut two-song demo on Bandcamp at the name-your-price level, and it would be best if you didn’t sleep on this one. Mixing equal parts Doom, Sludge, and Dark Psychedelic vibes, they create an atmosphere of tasteful heaviness, full of subtle menace.
“Father Arbitor” kicks things off with bits of noise swirling around while a sample invokes the dark spirits overseeing the material. James Cl’s guitar is distant and striking, heavy but not overtly so. The gravity of the track comes from Phil Hook’s immense beats, slow and tectonic. The vocals sound like they blew in on the wind, ghosts creeping at the edge of the campfire. While it would be mistake to say this isn’t heavy, atmosphere seems to take center stage.
The second track, “The Hound (Ritual)” doubles down, with an even more intense aura, but also dialing up the guitar as well. The mood here is strictly ritualistic. Imagine your favorite ’70s B-Horror antagonist, eyes peering out from beneath the hood of his robe, dagger held overhead, ready for sacrifice. Also worth noting, is the studio bass playing of producer Chris Carpenter. His lines are active and tasteful, providing the perfect counterpoint to the rest of the material.
Don’t let the fact that this release only has two tracks deter you. Each is an epic unto itself, clocking in at over ten minutes apiece. There is plenty here to sink your teeth into, and let’s hope there is a full-length soon to come.