Let’s be honest. The internet has simultaneously made everything better while absolutely fucking ruining it. Yes, we can get music and movies instantly, order pizza online, and buy embarrassing shit like hemorrhoid cream without handing someone money face to face. At the same time, any mystery about life has been sucked out of our consciousness like an effeminate Brad Pitt in Interview With A Vampire chomping on some pale, lame white girl. I have never seen that movie start to finish, but I did review Crimson Moon‘s To Embrace The Vampyric Blood in ’97 long before most of you were a scratch in your fathers’ nuts and wrote, “The ideas here are straightforward, but executed with conviction, and that is what lends the album its weight and impact. A good example of US black metal done well.” Has much changed in the Crimson Moon camp with their third full-length, Oneironaut?
Fuck yes. While they may not be reinventing the wheel, Crimson Moon have added some spikes, blades, and a strong dose of the occult. I’ve listened to a bevy of US black metal albums over the last 20 years and only a handful have given me the ancient feeling like Yamatu, December Wolves, Absu and more recently, Abazagorath‘s The Satanic Verses — a particularly prime cut that chills the spine. Crimson Moon have taken a genre torn and abused and released music that is as potent as it was before we knew it was forged by mere mortals. Now we know that they take shits, watch YouPorn, and eat Popeye’s in their drawers. Maybe at the same time. They aren’t Satanic mages. They are normal, Netflix binge-watching fools like you and me. However, Crimson Moon sound like they walk around in black robes, drink blood, speak to the undead, and have one of those fancy daggers with the curvy blade on them at all times.
“Gossamer of Arachne” is a near nine-minute trip that touches on the very coldest of Nordic witches’ tits with a cavernous sound to the choral voices that helped make Hades‘ …Again Shall Be such a masterpiece. If you grew up among the forests that Fenriz strolled through on the way to find a copy of Testament‘s The Ritual on cassette in Until The Light Takes Us, sure, writing stuff with this much atmosphere and edge might come naturally, but these fuckers are from California! Scorpios Androctonus has, since their debut, worked with bands like Demoncy and Melechesh. The flavor of the latter is especially prevalent during the closing moments of the opening track. While a mashing of Nordic, Middle Eastern and American black metal may read like a soup sandwich, not for a second does a moment on Oneironaut sound misguided. Rather, this whole release, at six long tracks clocking in at close to an hour, is a challenging and rewarding listen. “Molding of a Spell” blasts at first then grooves like Morbid Angel on a Euronymous trip. The clean vocals provide a respite from the intensity, letting the mind and heart recoup before ridiculous double bass and screeches engage the cremaster muscles and make the balls (for our male listeners) retract back into the stomach.
Oneironaut is remarkable in that, despite being multi-layered, it sounds so live. If the drums on this one were programmed like on the debut, one wouldn’t know it. “Seeker of the 7th Gate” finds the band going from a comfortable black metal gait to a melodic and depressing guitar/spoken word passage, then suddenly a Lombardo-ish frenetic fill leads into the slowest and most vile grooving riff on the album. Then the previous passage re-emerges like a bad case of gonorrhea that the antibiotics just couldn’t stand up to, and we’re reminded that Scoprios is a master black metal songwriter. 2007’s EP, The Serpent Beneath The Skin was a fine continuation of what Crimson Moon accomplished on the debut as was the previous full-length, Under the Serpentine Spell, but holy hell… this is a whole new level of mindfuck. Give a listen to what they do 4:45 into the aforementioned song — layered clean vocals and a catchy guitar harmony that’s as beautiful as bestial. It’s this conglomeration of the familiar, frightening, and fierce that makes Oneironaut as great as it is.
If you’re an old shitty metal head like me that thinks you’ve heard it all, clench your butt cheeks and hope you haven’t had any Taco Bell because you may soil yourself at how vital and vitriolic Crimson Moon sound. Me? My bowels are cleared out thanks to the Metamucil I ordered online so I’ll be listening to this shit for ages to come.
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 224kbps mp3
Label: World Terror Committee Records
Websites: crimsonmoonxeper.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Crimsonmoonxeper
Releases Worldwide: December 6th, 2016