The Moth Gatherer
Esoteric Oppression


4.0
excellent

Review

by PistolPete USER (49 Reviews)
March 2nd, 2019 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even with the departure of a founding member, The Moth Gatherer pull off a rare three-peat on their third studio album.

For most of their short-lived career, Sweden’s The Moth Gatherer has been a band that you listen to mainly because they embody the most endearing qualities of the post/sludge-metal genre. You don’t listen to them because they are groundbreaking or innovative, they simply appeal to what most post-metal fans flock to: crushing walls of sound, distortion and heaviness in heaps, and impeccable attention to the pacing of tracks to induce atmosphere. And they’re quite good at it, despite my harping on their unoriginality. Their debut A Bright Celestial Light was essentially an incredibly well-done Cult of Luna worship album. It’s not hard to imagine why as they’re from the same country. That album nailed the droney passage’s their post-metal forefathers are known for with a little experimentation into electronics. Follow-up The Earth is the Sky took that synth-driven aspect and further expanded into it, with songs like “Dyatlov Pass” that were virtually all-electronic. There were even some moments on that album brimming with black metal influence (see “The Black Antlers”). This penchant for electronics is where the band has carved what little niche they could into the genre to make them distinctive. It was interesting to see where they’d take their sound now in 2019, especially since they went through a crucial lineup change in between their 2016 EP and now. Co-founding member Alex Stjernfeldt announced his departure in-between writing and Dan Hemgren has replaced him on bass duties, although Alex was still involved in writing lyrics on the new album.

Esoteric Oppression is the album where The Moth Gatherer truly perfect that balance between heaviness, melodic post-rock and overall patience in their songwriting. The influence of old post-metal greats is still here both figuratively and literally, as Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna) does have mastering duties on this latest album. The band really opts for more drawn-out structures to the songs. Opener “The Drone Kingdom” is perhaps the most patience-testing of the bunch, with a hypnotic and plodding riff to start the song and a leaning towards stretched-out build-ups in the middle sections. That focus I mentioned on electronics bridging the gaps between passages is more present than ever and there’s even a haunting and beautiful female vocal contribution in the back half (provided by Messy Mathi of BARST). “Utopia” also uses this approach in a more upfront manner, launching itself with a distorted, almost grunge-like riff and stretches its capacity to a six-minute runtime, bringing it back just when you think things will remain subdued. Because of this tactic, the vocals are more relied upon to bring energy into the songs. Fortunately, sole remaining founder and vocalist Victor Wegeborn is up to the task and songs like this and “The Failure Design” showcase him testing the limits of his vocal chords in astounding fashion.

There’s also plenty for longtime fans to soak up. Lead single “Motionless in Oceania” continues their welcome inclusion of electronics, mixing them seamlessly with tasty riffs that bounce between Victor’s bellowing roars and surplus of synths. “Phosphorescent Blight” is a fantastic closing track to the album, imbuing this majestic and trance-like atmosphere that harkens back to Cult of Luna’s more modernized sound they had on 2013’s Vertikal. Victor’s roars also recall a young Scott Kelly (Neurosis). This closer is clear post-metal fan service at its finest.

Esoteric Oppression follows the typical arc that maturing post-metal bands tend to take during their lifespan: that is, a diversion away from immediacy and towards balance. Some listeners will notice the heaviness is not quite the same. It doesn’t envelop and consume you like past releases. Listen to their earlier LPs with a good pair of headphones and it’ll feel like the heaviness swallows you. In the early days of the genre, most bands were focused on pummeling listeners like that (think albums like Celestial, Enemy of the Sun, or Cult of Luna’s first two albums). Then, bands started to work with the dynamics and pacing of their albums, balancing things out with softer post-rock passages that progress to heavy ones. Now you had albums like Somewhere Along the Highway, The Eye of Every Storm, or In the Absence of Truth coming out. Those latter albums are what I’d say Esoteric Oppression resembles the most and in some ways, that enveloping sense of heaviness is missed here. But what it is being replaced with shines in its own bright way, showcasing a band that wants to do more than just be heavy. And now we have another stunning album by one of post-metals more consistent modern ambassadors, and one of the best releases out of the genre you’ll likely hear all year.



Recent reviews by this author
Suldusk Lunar FallsDead Letter Circus Dead Letter Circus (2018)
Toundra VortexSaba Care For Me
Obscure Sphinx Anaesthetic Inhalation RitualSarin Darker Lakes
user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
March 2nd 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another album review I aimed to make more concise...splattered out onto over a page in MS Word.

Digging: Suldusk - Lunar Falls

teamster
March 2nd 2019


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome PP. Just a correction : it’s Magnus Lindberg. No coincidence the sound of this band is Cult Of Luna-ish. I like The Earth Is The Sky more but this album is really great. Best post metal album so far in ‘19. Excellent review and thanks.

TorkshireYea
March 2nd 2019


57 Comments


I'm very down for having more Cult of Luna-style stuff. Not come across these guys before I don't think. Reckon this is better if I start at the beginning of their discog and get the progression in?

Also pos'd, great write-up man :]

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2019


8940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[2] This is concise and well-written. Nicely done



And the album sounds like an exciting experience, definitely have to check eventually

RogueNine
March 2nd 2019


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Actually going through this one now, promising thus far.

PistolPete
March 2nd 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol I can’t believe I messed the guy’s name up, I fact checked myself on everything just to be safe! Thanks for catching that teamster.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2019


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Pete. The Messy Mathi feature and the fact that Magnus has a hand on this are reasons enough for me to check this. (And teamster's 4.5 fcourse). Pos'd.

Digging: Ioanna Gika - Thalassa

PistolPete
March 4th 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Yeah man it's fairly easy post-metal to get into as far as the genre goes. They've always had a tasty heaviness to them that hits the spot for me. I still like "Earth Is the Sky" more though.



This could be a good pick for post-metal aoty, but I reserve judgment until the new Bossk and The Ocean albums come out.

RogueNine
March 4th 2019


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

More Bossk?!?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2019


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More The Ocean?? ah yeah it's true, they have a new one coming.

teamster
March 5th 2019


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok folks new stuff on the way from:

Pet Slimmers of the Year

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster

Latitudes

Helms Alee

Blindead

Cranial

Numenorean

Everything In Slow Motion

Tombs

Hanging Garden

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber





PistolPete
March 5th 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol how you know all that is beyond me. New Cranial and Helms Alee excites me

necropig
March 5th 2019


5235 Comments


Liking this

Digging: rstir Lfsins - Saga tveim tungum I: Vpn ok vir

teamster
March 5th 2019


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Post Master knows all PP ;) Actually just friend them all on Facebook. I love getting updates from bands I dig!



Also, expect new...

Disillusion

Fen

Alcest

Lantlos

Constants (well they got back together so we will see)

Atoma

Vaura

RogueNine
March 5th 2019


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hype for new Pet Slimmers.

PistolPete
March 7th 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I forgot Lantlos and Alcest were making stuff. Hopefully they come out this year, I think Alcest was only at the writing stage.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Helms Alee got me hyped. Cranial too. Also curious about what Fen is doing next.



Finally found time to dive into this. Checking now.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Blown away by Mathi's voice. So GOOD. Gonna have to jam Barst sooner than later. Two tracks in, this is pretty nice.

PistolPete
March 12th 2019


4967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I’m gonna have to do the same I think.

autoNamed
March 20th 2019


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alex Navarro plugged this on twitter, dude's got good recs



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy