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Moonscape – Entity, Chapter II: Echoes From A Cognitive Dystopia

Moonscape
Entity, Chapter II: Echoes From A Cognitive Dystopia
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 01 February 2021, 6:58 AM

MOONSCAPE is a Norwegian progressive metal band formed in 2015. "Entity, Chapter II: Echoes from a Cognitive Dystopia" is their second full length album; they also released an EP in September of last year. As being progressive would suggest, "Entity, Chapter II" is an album that blends in several different genres. Across this four track album, with a run time of thirty seven minutes, I heard traditional metal, thrash metal style guitar solos, power metal and melodic death.

That is a lot to take in as a listener but the band plays it effortlessly—the whole album is a very smooth experience. There exists a fine balance between light and dark, heavy and melodic. The opening track, "A Prelude To Grief," is a beautiful cinematic experience not unlike what some modern post-metal/rock can do. The grandiose of the symphony and drums builds up over time but more has gentle waves instead of a tsunami. Intros are often times  waste of, well, time but this one is exceptionally well done.

"The next track is "Illusion or Reality?," and I think the name is rather apt. The sonic soundscapes are lush and vibrant that do indeed seem to take me off to another time or world. It opens with a heavy metal style riff that leads into a melodic but shredding guitar solo. The song quickly changes it out for intensity, providing death metal riffs and growls. There exists a well placed groove that pushes the song towards its next destination where epic clean vocals make their appearance.

The middle portion of the song is clean guitar, melodic bass, and a serene musical landscape that also supplies..smooth jazz? Well ok…it is wonderful! More methodical riffs and a blistering solos are up next. The band is never content on just staying in one musical movement for too long. Each second is a guarantee journey to another realm. About eleven minutes in, the keyboards get their chance to provide a whimsical and adventures movement. "The Ails To Withstand," is a bit more ominous with its darkly toned keyboard intro and raspy growl. The lead guitar and drums duel it out together, doubling down on speed.  This track is quite a bit faster and more black metal oriented in places which is fine because I'm a firm believer that prog metal can be extreme as well.

The wonderful cleans show up for catchy passage before the bottom drops off into a keyboard solo. I love the melodic music and cleans after this as it really elevates the song. The song builds itself back to heavier pastures but throws in a jaunty, folk feel that reveals yet another side of the band. The final track "In The Mourning Hours," is straight up power metal in the beginning and its executed very well. The vocals switch between operatic cleans and death growls/screams quickly throughout the song. The middle portion is a raucous set of crunchy guitars, ambient keys and symphonic textures. It suddenly switches to NWOBHM style that in turn leads back to their version of powerful metal. And how about those riffs and solos after the seven minute mark? Slick as hell!

I never heard of this band before this review so I am pleasantly surprised about how well they execute all these ideas. For anyone who likes prog and/or melodic death, you could do a lot worse than this album. They are a young band but I very much look forward to what else they bring in the future.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Prelude To Grief
2. Illusion or Reality?
3. The Ails To Withstand
4. In The Mourning Hours
Lineup:
Havard Lunde – Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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