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Moonrise – The Dark River Of Soul

The Dark River Of Soul
by Thomas Kumke at 02 January 2022, 8:30 PM

MOONRISE hailing from Padua, Italy was formed in 1999. They are a melodic Death Metal band. After they released two demos in 2001 and 2003, the debut full-length album “Under The Flight Of Crows” was completed in 2011. It took another 10 years to release the second album “The Dark River Of Soul” which has a length of more than 40 minutes. The album is an independent release. No official video has been released so far.

There is a wide range of melodic Death Metal bands nowadays. There are the classical Melo death bands which have their focus on epic melodies, anthems, and solos. On the other end, there are bands with a sound closer to traditional Death Metal. MOONRISE belongs to the latter ones. “The Dark River Of Soul” has a lot of ingredients from traditional Death Metal, but it maintains a strong melodic base. The album starts with “Hans Wind” which is a very aggressive opener. Mostly being in the range of a mid-tempo song, there are several tempo and rhythm changes. The guitar riffing is tight, the drumming is dominated by double-bass with a few blast-beat outbursts, and the growling vocals are mainly around the medium and of the guttural range with occasional higher pitched growls.

The title song “The Dark River Of Soul” has more catchiness in the guitar riffing and in the melodies. The riffs sound really cool and there is a good contribution from the lead guitars. In between, there are hammering blast-beat attacks. The riffing during the middle part is powerful and dark and the lead guitar solo perfectly fits into the track. “The Dark River Of Soul” is one of the highlights on the album.

One of the main features of the MOONRISE sound are the complex song structures with a lot of tempo changes and twists and turns in rhythm. “War For The Black Mountain” as well as the opening track “Hans Wind” and even the title song are good examples for this. “White Nightmare” follows those structures too, but the melodies are more dominant here. In fact, “White Nightmare” has a lot of different textures and an overload of melodies. While the growls in “War For The Black Mountain” and “White Nightmare” tend to go towards higher notes, Marco Beltrame adds a few low growls in “Where The Demon Lives” which adds more darkness to the song. The sound does not really differ from the rest of the album, with the exception of a very direct lead guitar solo near the end of the track.

The Empty Throne Of God” has a battering, blast-beat driven start at blistering pace with a lot of aggression and flesh ripping guitar riffs. There are a few transitions towards mid-tempo and more melodic-oriented parts, but the track is surely the most brutal and traditional Death Metal song on the album. “Winged Lion” is one of the faster tracks on the album and the one with a more memorable structure for most parts of the track. The melodies are catchy, and it makes “Winged Lion” to one of my favourites on the album. “The Light Inside” is in principle the final track on the album, since “When Demons Sleep” is a two minute intonation of a musical clock. “The Light Inside” is a grim song in particular during the chilling, double-bass driven, mid-tempo parts with powerful guitar riffing. The song comes with a fine, extended, and very contributing lead guitar solo.

MOONRISE deliver their second full-length album after a long time. I am not quite sure what to make out of “The Dark River Of Soul”. It has some good songs like the title song, but it also has a few songs that cannot keep up with the better ones. The often fairly complex structures do not really help and make many songs indistinguishable from each other. Sometimes less is more and a few simple and catchier songs would have made the album more interesting to listen to. The sound of album is, however, pretty diverse and has its own character, since it is somewhere in between the traditional Melo death and classical Death Metal. The album is well produced. Fans of melodic Death Metal but also traditional Death Metal should give “The Dark River Of Soul” a listen and I am sure, some of them will dig the album.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  7
Memorability:  5
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Hans Wind
2. The Dark River Of Soul
3. War For The Black Mountain
4. White Nightmare
5. Where The Demon Lives
6. The Empty Throne Of God
7. Winged Lion
8. The Light Inside
9. When Demons Sleep
Marco Beltrame – Vocals
Davide Silvestri – Guitars
Gabriele Zanin ­ Guitars
Fabio Bacchin – Drums
Marco Morandin – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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