The Moth Gatherer // A Bright Celestial Light
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — Ain’t experimental, but still decent stuff
Label: Agonia Records
Websites: themothgatherer.com | facebook.com/TheMothGatherer
Release Date: EU: 2013.04.22 NA: 04.16.2013
The guitarist plays his guitar while high on meth-infused beer, plugging the guitar cable into a meth-powered amplifier and stomps on the pedal incessantly with the enthusiasm of a little kid playing Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade. The drummer prefers rhythmic consistency to speed; the bassist wears an invisibility cloak even as he hits low notes that causes window panes to reverberate, giving away his presence; the vocalist sings about life’s saddest moments (boo-hoo v.v). Finally, there are also calm, acoustic interludes that serve as breaks between heavy passages.
Sounds familiar? Yeah, this reads like metal that would sound emotional, sludgy and doomy. Despite such a recognizable and classifiable sound, the band (and its record label) labels its music “experimental/progressive.” The move to call one’s music “experimental” or “progressive” always seems like a shameless PR tactic to cash in on the whole ‘music without boundaries’ trend that ended with Deathspell Omega’s Paracletus in, like, 2010. Hence, it does not sit well with Happy Metal Guy to do such a thing in a new era [The era of…..Iron and Steel!! Ohhhhhhh AHHH!! — Steel “Viking” Druhm].
Ready the Pink Pony Firing Squad! No, no. Send them back to the stables, m’dear serf. In spite of their untruthfulness, the Swedish metal duo’s debut album does sound unconventional and musical (but note: unconventional ≠ experimental). It’s heavy on guitar pedal effects; it’s surreal; it sounds like stuff you would hear those phantom jam bands play during your daily evening walks around the bright and friendly town of Silent Hill.
The music plods along grimly most of the time, frequently tossing out lumbering riffs that smack into one’s ears like an oversized and angry piranha of the air [That’s fookin metal! — Steel Druhm]. There are, however, moments when it breaks into a fast-paced jog befitting of the traditional heavy metal tempo. It gets you sobbing into your elbow on the bar table one moment, but up hopping around like a drunk Mike Tyson fisticuffing with imaginary louts next. It’s the kind of sludgy doom metal with the vocalist constantly hollering some indecipherable shit in the background (probably telling you how best to brush your dog’s fur for all you know), while the chunky guitar riffs take center stage all the time.
To hear it from the man himself (and give Happy Metal Guy an excuse to write 66 words fewer): “We just want our music to be an emotional explosion,” said Alex, co-founder of the band. A lot of the songs is about death, missing people you loved who have passed away and losing hope in mankind. We want the music to make you feel like you can move mountains with it. I wish that when people hear our music, they start to dream away.”
For everyone’s info, Happy Metal Guy REALLY drifted off to dreamland while listening to this record. But the dream was anything but pleasant. It’s not the hedonistic kind of dream that leaves one drooling blissfully like an ignorant newborn; it’s the uneasy type that makes one conscious of distant noises from the realm of reality. From a metal perspective, Happy Metal Guy supposes that this is a good thing. One thing though, it’s nothing like an “emotional explosion.” An explosion doesn’t last 45 minutes and 1 second. An “emotional jog underwater” would be a more accurate description.
While the standard paraphernalia of metal does a good job of creating the heavy and aggressive sound, the synthesizer’s and piano’s roles cannot be ignored, for they both contribute to the emotional dimension of the music in their own way too. Be instilled with a mechanical sense of foreboding upon hearing the synth sound effects around the midway mark of “A Road Of Gravel And Skulls,” and start sobbing again in remembrance of lonely times upon hearing the piano solo that concludes closing track “A Falling Deity.”
All in all, this is a decent start to the Swedish duo’s ‘night job’. Playing such dreamy music has some disturbing philosophical implications, though. Can the duo be certain that they are not currently in a dream in which they are living their dream? Could it be that they put themselves to a coma-like sleep in actual reality and are really lying in hospital beds at the moment? Everything seems to be going too well, ain’t it? Oh well. Dream, dream away!