Review Summary: Moss Icon were undoubtedly a huge influence on emo and helped shape the genre as a whole, and this album is further proof of that. The weird fusion of genres used throughout the album give it a very unique and different sound, unlike any other emo band.
Listening to this album I found it odd how little attention it had gotten on this site, especially considering how emo is so highly regarded by so many users. Moss Icon are undoubtedly one of the forefathers of emo, and their influence on the genre is undeniable. While their career did only last five years, in that time they helped shape a new and diverse genre that consumed the hardcore punk scene from the late 90s to the early 2000s.
While this is undeniably an emo album, it’s impossible to accurately fit it into one genre; It Disappears combines bits and pieces of so many different genres that it’s difficult to put a label on it. All these different ideas from different ideas combined create a very unique and weird sound that’s unlike any other band in the genre, or any other genre for that matter. Despite this though, it still feels like a cohesive body of work. It doesn’t sound like they forced all their different influences together just to have something that sounds unique; all of their different ideas make sense and work in the context of each song. The production on the album only helps to aid this, as it’s incredibly raw and grimy, almost to the point where it sounds like it was just recorded live in someone’s garage.
One of the most notable ideas that reoccurs throughout the album is the way songs will transition from calm and subdued sections to loud and cacophonous sections in a matter of seconds, which is a technique that can be seen in many modern emo bands. Songs will go from cleanly picked jazzy guitar parts with raspy softly spoken vocals over them to noisy sections with the guitars being wailed on and full on yelling that wouldn’t feel out of place on a hardcore record. One of the most creative uses of this technique is on the title track, where the band slowly builds up the song with a heavy bass line and more cleanly picked riffs until it finally reaches its climax that hits the listener at full force with crashing cymbals and vocals that are absolutely belted.
Part of what makes this album so unique though is the vocals and lyrics, which have a mesmerizing quality to them that pulls the listener into an almost trance like state. The vocals are delivered somewhere between yelling and speaking and have an interesting way of working around the beat of the rest of the band and never quite following directly along. A common theme throughout the lyrics on the album is the constant battle between nature and civilization, but what makes them so interesting is the imagery that’s used to express these themes. The lyrics are almost never directly stated, but rather implied at through metaphors and word play, which makes them worthwhile to pay attention to. Many of the lyrics are repeated on different songs, which ties the different themes of each song together and gives the album a much more complete feel.
With so many different influences and ideas thrown into one body of work, it’s undeniable that It Disappears is a weird album, which can make it hard to listen to for someone that’s new to the genre. The influence Moss Icon had on emo is everywhere though, and can be seen in dozens of bands that came after them and expanded on the ideas they set up, which makes it a worthwhile listen. Highly recommended to anyone who’s a fan of emo or punk in general.