Review Summary: Reeking of hippie sex, vast excursions into the forest and lavender oil, Seed is one of the most spiritual and heathenish records that i've ever heard.
Reeking of hippie sex, vast excursions into the forest and lavender oil, Seed is one of the most spiritual and heathenish records that i've ever heard. The band itself, Moss Of Moonlight, is the latest addition to the ever-growing Cascadian U.S black metal scene. Rather than sticking to the basic template that was laid out for them by Wolves in the Throne Room or their contemporaries, Moss of Moonlight opt for a folkier, more dynamic approach. There are significant traces of black metal in their sound but Moss Of Moonlight are firmly entrenched in the neo-folk meets melodic metal excursions akin to Ulver's Bergtatt, Agalloch and Moonsorrow although with a distinctly North American twist.
Moss Of Moonlight's music itself is as remarkable as it is diverse. In addition to featuring a dual male/female approach and a traditional guitar/bass/drum setup, Moss Of Moonlight take it one step further by incorporating other instruments such as the didgeridoo, the flute, acoustic guitar, violin and other ethnic sounding instruments. A good word to use to describe Moss of Moonlight's music would be multifaceted. They have a deep, flowing sound rich with textures and layers that swirl about without sacrificing song-writing or emotional depth. The songwriting is as varied as it is melancholy. Instrumental acoustic pieces evolve into blasting metal passages and blasting instrumental metal passages evolve into calming acoustic pieces and so forth. Moods change from triumphant to angry to downtrodden at the drop of the hat which fit the record's concept pretty well. "Follow The Owl" wouldn't sound out of place in a Zelda game. Featuring prominent use of the flute and female singing, the song carries a jubilant vibe throughout it's short run time. In addition, the song features a "walking through the forest bit" akin to Ulver's Capitel III complete with hooting owls, crunching footsteps and rumbling thunder. Some could see this as pretentious or dumb but for me it fits the context of the music perfectly.
The album's concept itself is a "tale of a peaceful, but oppressed region of North America that rises up in order to survive and become Cascadia" according to their bandcamp. Reading their lyrics which are heavily based on nature, wandering, and their own prideful defiance against the encroaching modernists, I can safely agree with this. I found some Nordic and Celtic pagan references in there as well which is pretty cool in my opinion.
This album could've easily been just another stuck in the past, half-assed pseudo-romantic snoozefest written by intellectual douches but it's not. Everything feels natural about it. The music, the vocals, the lyrics, the atmosphere, all of it for that matter. It just sounds authentic to me. They aren't as heavy or as blackened as their brethren but this more melodic approach suits the band perfectly. They have injected creativity in a scene known for it's contrived hippie aesthetics and general staleness. Highlights include the aforementioned "Follow The Owl", the somber Primordial influenced number "Cascadia" and the epic fifteen minute closer "The Trail Beyond the Dying Sun". You'll know right away from reading this review whether you'll dig this or not. If you do decide to trek on to Moss Of Moonlight's musical voyage, all I have to say to you is "Yo Soy Fiesta".