(Andy Synn attempts to atone for our lack of coverage of Moonreich over the years)
While we’ve written about France’s Moonreich here and there before now, the sad truth is that we’ve never fully given them their due (in my opinion, at least).
But the recent release of their truly exceptional new album, Amer offers us an opportunity to make up for this. And I plan to take full advantage of it.
Now, even before I had a chance to listen to Amer I was already hearing very good things about it, including more than a few people describing it as the answer to the question “what if Gojira were a Black Metal band?”.
Of course, I immediately dismissed such comments as being overly reductive and more than a little hyperbolic – after all, it seems like every French band ends up getting compared to the Big G these days, at one point or another – but when I finally pushed play I quickly found out that… they weren’t necessarily wrong.
Now, let me be clear, it would be equally valid to state that the music on Amer has just as much in common with Gaerea as it does Gojira – and I’d also recommend it to fans of similarly expressive and electrifying artists such as Agrypnie, Au-Dessus, and Der Weg Einer Freiheit – but I don’t doubt that once you get your first taste of the brooding riffs and bombastic rhythms of opener “Of Swine and Ecstasy” or the mesmerising, melancholy melodies of “Where We Sink”, you’ll start to understand just why those comparisons have been made.
That being said, Moonreich have so much more to offer over the course of this album, from the cavalcade of frenetic blastbeats and furious vocals which makes up the thrilling title-track, to the massive, blackened riffs and sublime progressive twists of the record’s stunning finale “The Cave of Superstition”, not to mention the seamless injection of moody, Post-Metallic dynamics (and even the occasional dash of cathartic clean vocals) at key moments which only serves to elevate and expand the band’s creative palette even further.
But if all that sounds like a lot to take in at once… don’t worry… these five songs possess more than enough electrifying energy and keen-edged hooks to keep you right on the edge of your seat for the album’s entire forty-three minute run-time, as well as multiple moments that will make you pull that face (you know the one I’m talking about) – that transition at 06:23 in “Of Swine…” is a personal favourite of mine, but then so is the entire, intricately arranged climax of “Astral Jaws” – in appreciation of the band’s sheer audacity at attempting (and succeeding) to pull off something that good.
In case it hasn’t been made clear, I honestly cannot say enough good things about this record. Every single time I listen to it I find something new to appreciate – most recently I found myself marvelling at all the subtle nuances of the drumming, which I’d only been peripherally aware of up until that point – which makes me look at and hear it in a whole new light.
If the world were a fairer and more just place then this album would be receiving the same amount of hype and recognition that Mirage did last year – it really is that good.
But until that happens, all I can do is tell you to check out Amer – which you can stream in full below – ASAP. Because the longer you wait the harder you’ll want to kick yourself once you finally do listen to it for the first time!