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Moonskin - Farewell

Moonskin
Farewell
by Tiago Masseti at 26 November 2019, 11:15 PM

Debut albums: one of the most peculiar elements in the Heavy Metal world. It’s always a wide amalgam of the band member’s influences, dreams, and goals. Most of the times it’s merely a draft of what a band may become and it often sounds way too similar to others out there. But every now and then some one-time magic happens and a band thrives in finding their sound and identity in the first full-length. And this is what MOONSKIN managed to do with “Farewell”.

France took some time to be under the headbangers’ radar but, when it did, the bar was set pretty high. Bands like GOJIRA and ALCEST took the world by storm, presenting some of the most haunting and innovative Metal of the 2010’s. And it’s great to see that doors are being open for high-quality French bands to rise to the challenge in the decade that’s coming in. This is an album that will immediately tell you that MOONSKIN wants the world. Vintage keyboards and a fuzzy guitar solo open the journey in the track “Birth”. The 70’s Prog Rock feeling and soft ride cymbal gradually lead us into heaviness.

The cadenced and groovy title track “Farewell” brings some Ozzy-era SABBATH juice with powerful riffs, open-string chords and unconventional harmonies to add some progressive spice. Delora’s vocals are accessible and passionate and grant an unexpected sound to their music. Her robust tone and Cristina Scabbia-like attitude make this song immediately likable. The mid-section with the floor tom groove and the IRON MAIDENish guitar themes is stellar. Next up, beautiful piano/choir interlude “…these lips are mute” set the tone for the 9-minute-track “Dead Cursed Lands”. Many different sections, Symphonic Metal elements and inspired guitar solos make this song one of the album’s highlights.

A second interlude “…these eyes are dry” bring some Horror-Movie-Soundtrack-Type of sound and lead into “Suffer”, another lengthy song that resembles the classic moments of Dio-era RAINBOW and the darker moments of old MAIDEN and PRIEST. The fact that it’s being interpreted by a female voice makes it immediately different and relevant. And halfway through the song some Death Metal growls kick in. And it’s the same Delora doing it. If at this point you were taking this as a DIO/SABBATH sound alike with female vocals, this is were things become really refreshing. It’s been long awaited that Metal vocalists start to widen their influences and push the boundaries of the genre. And having a female voice that does both clean  singing and growls it’s definitely becoming a trend. And a very exciting one!

“Queen of Misery” starts with some Gregorian chants, a straight-forward riff and weird-sounding whispers that give it a modern feel, resembling the latest RAMMSTEIN, GHOST and MARILYN MANSON. This is a good contender for a single and a more radio-friendly track and could be a nice way to get to know the band if you don’t. Also, the interpolation of clean singing and growling is firmly established on this track. If you’re an album-oriented listener, this is definitely for you. Serving the tradition of the greats, the album ends with an 11-minute track preceded by a ballad-type short song. “…guilt’s expiring eyes” and “Final Journey” gather all the elements that MOONSKIN have presented so far and serve greatly as closure to a pleasant listening experience. The eastern percussions add a nice flavor to the whole thing and finish the album strongly, while leaving you wanting more.

This isn’t a perfect album and it might not be groundbreaking or anything like it. But this is an exciting, honest and refreshing piece of art. It’s impressively solid and extraordinarily mature for a debut album. For those who like the classics but also enjoy some modern and extreme genres of Metal this is going to be a fun ride. And one can only hope that “farewell” is just a title. A band that started with such good sounding production and songwriting will make audiences grow extremely high expectations for the future of these Parisians Doom-Occultists-Heavy-Metallers.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Birth
2. Farewell
3. …these lips are mute
4. Dead Cursed Lands
5. …these eyes are dry
6. Suffer
7. Queen Of Misery
8. …guilt’s expiring eyes
9. Final Journey
Lineup:
Delora - Vocals
Sami Hadhri - Guitars
Cyril Verchere - Guitars, Samples
Arnaud Segui - Bass
Rachid “Teepee” Trabelsi - Drums, Percussion, Samples
Record Label: GreyveStorm Productions
     


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