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Mo’ynoq – A Place for Ash

A Place for Ash
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 September 2022, 7:36 AM

 Hailing from North Carolina, USA, Black Metal band MO’YNOQ means “also spelled as Muynak and Moynaq, is a city in northern Karakalpakstan in western Uzbekistan. The city is mostly known for once being on the coast of the Aral Sea, which has since receded, leading to the economic decline of Mo‘ynoq.” Their latest album here contains five songs.

“Penance” is the first. From the opening sounds, it is clearly a FWOBM clone…vocals shrieks, galloping drums, a wall of guitars, and bass missing in the mix. It’s almost as if the band was pulled aside and given a pre-scripted formula of how to recreate the past, without even a shred of their own personality. It’s harrowing, but that is about it. “Throes of Ardent Disposition” is a bit more linear in nature, such that you can hear some chord progressions and a smidge of songwriting prowess, but it’s still a far cry from being “good.” Amidst the machine gun drumming and wall of guitars, there is at least some discernible sounds.

“Effigies Adorned in Fire” begins with just a little diversity, and a taste of the band’s personality. But they are going to have to work pretty hard to come out the other end with anything you might be able to call “original.” There are some depressive qualities here. “Synchomysticism” is a mouthful of a title. The song revels in both anger and despondence, but the chord progressions don’t really go anywhere. The vocals vary a bit, from skrieks to gutturals, and there are some frightening moments, but it sounds very close to the rest of the songs. “The Beast that Mourned at the Heart of the Mountain” closes the album; a 12-minute opus. You would think that the length of the song would give the band a chance to finally flourish, but they don’t take the opportunity to.

It wasn’t as terrible as some other Black Metal albums I have heard this year, but it just suffers from a lack of the band’s personality. The modern-day boundaries of the genre are much more forgiving than they were in the past, if you can leave the FWOBM crap behind and blaze your own path. Too many bands are just unwilling to do this, and/or scared that they will lose fans. Jump in head first, I say, and don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 4
Memorability: 3
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. Penance
2. Throes of Ardent Disposition
3. Effigies Adorned in Fire
4. Synchromysticism
5. The Beast that Mourned at the Heart of the Mountain
Devin Janus – Bass, Vocals
Justin Valletta – Drums
Don Boyd – Guitars, Vocals
Logan – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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