Early Moods – Early Moods Review

With a name like Early Moods, this promo looked very out of place bobbing about in the AMG promo muck. It sounds like something a 60s jazz artist would dub his debut album, and it doesn’t so much as hint at its doom on roids character. That’s a marketing shame, as the band offers a unique and interesting take on the style pioneered by the likes of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Witchfinder General, and Saint Vitus. Formed by musicians from various thrash and death metal projects, Early Moods came together to attempt a marriage of classic doom with traditional heavy metal ideas and melodies. In this, they were successful, as Early Moods is steeped in the doom sounds of the 70s and early 80s yet chock full of 80s heavy metal grit and attitude. Flashes of NWoBHM dot the spaces in between burlly doom riffs and a bubbling Maiden/Diamond Head/Satan influence pushes the material forward at energy levels uncommon to doom. Even traces of grunge, thrash, and death find their way into the strange brew like so many exotic hops. In short, this is an entertaining ride through the “early moods” of metal and into something refreshing and sort of new in a decidedly old-school way.

Listening to Early Moods is like a trip down doom nostalgia lane, and I’m here for that. Opener “Return to Salem’s Gate” is like a wonderful mash-up of Pentagram and Witchfinder General with a Doctor Smoke sauce, and that shit sells itself. The beefy doom riffs are tasty, the harmonies are catchy and the soulful vocals by frontman Albert are effective and endearing. The song offers everything I love about retro doom and I’ve been spinning it like a crypt fiend. The good stuff keeps coming with cuts like the aggressive and urgent “Live to Suffer” where vintage Black Sabbath is heavily channeled alongside an upbeat NWoBHM vibe akin to Angel Witch with swaggering riff lines and a forward momentum that cannot be resisted. The title track goes deep into classic doom for a monster cut, even leaving the door open for bits of death metal and grunge. The combination is executed brilliantly with Albert delivering winning vocals amid a whirlwind of excellent riffs, skin slicing harmonies and gloriously wailing solos.

Another huge highlight arrives with “Curse of the Light,” which borrows a sizeable portion of the magic inherent in Sabbath’s timeless classic “Under the Sun” for a rousing, rowdy doom piece. The song bludgeons you with a great main riff as it walks the tightrope between doom and NWoBHM, even wandering off into quasi-thrash at points, and there’s much cowbell included as well as slight death intonations. This is the shit. Sadly, not every song offers such successful alchemy, and “Broken” and “Damnation” contain good ideas and fun moments, but both feel a bit awkward and rough compared to their more seamless peers. Still, the 41 minutes of Early Moods make for a sharp, enthralling, and easily digestible listen without bloat or filler to mar the experience.

This is a talented crew with chops in the right places. Guitarists Eddie and Oscar plow vast fields of metal and harvest doom wheat of high quality, dusting the bumper crop with NWoBHM fury and aggression. There are some really great guitar moments here that reek of the 70s and 80s and every track has its own guitar hero moments. If you make it through the first three songs without involuntary air guitaring, you are greatly dead inside. Vocalist Albert excels at capturing the ear with his pleasing vocal delivery. He has the rare voice that fits equally well in a doom and NWoBHM space and he clearly knows his way around both genres. He manages to put his stamp on the material without resorting to Ozzy worship, which is a feather in his doom cap. Bassist Elix Feliciano drops a solid low-end rumble into the works, adding a touch of Geezer-esque magic here and there. The entire band is rock solid and knows how to deliver that classic doom sound.

The writing is surprisingly polished and slick for a young act, and when things all come together, boy howdy this thing rocks the cradle hard.

Early Moods may be the coolest, weirdest surprise so far in 2022, coming out of nowhere and clobbering me with high-quality throwback doom that falls just short of greatness. If you love the classic doom era or even modern stuff like Ghost or Doctor Smoke, you’ll find plenty here to appreciate. In a time where the big modern doom acts seem to be in decline, Early Moods rise to carry the banner proudly. I salute them and all their crazy temperaments.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: RidingEasy Records
Websites: earlymoods.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/earlymoods
Releases Worldwide: August 5th, 2022

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