Moss
Tombs of the Blind Drugged

An EP, apparently, at 39 minutes for this fairly prolific British doom trio, both of whose proper albums have exceed the hour mark and who have been fairly well-regarded among doom aficionados. My only prior experience with the group comes from their 2004 split with the excellent and sadly defunct Torture Wheel, who I thought had the better of that pairing, and to be honest, left me fairly underwhelmed with the band that is the subject of this review. Hewing or rather heaving their particularly dry brand of droning funeral sludge, with the only atmosphere or color coming via occasional Hammond Horror interludes, Moss is not exactly the type of band that will jump out at the listener with any immediate appeal, rather it is up to the listener to attune themselves with the lethargic creepy crawl of these four songs. Even moreso than most doom, most underground esoteric doom for that matter, a certain mind-set (see album title), might need to be achieved before even presuming to press play. 

The tone, or monotone, of Moss is such that the listener might be surprised that there hasn’t been a bass player in this group since 2001, but wouldn’t be surprised if that was because Dominic Finbow stole his strings and put them on his guitar. Olly Pearson’s incantations are of a uniquely harrowing high-end gurgle and drummer Chris Chantler might have one of the easiest jobs in metal, barely dragging the band along while helping to supply some of the low-end. As much as I find this sonically satisfying, the actual songwriting does suffer a bit as a consequence of the atmosphere they can in fact be said to succeed in creating. Similar to my ambivalence bordering on disinterest or even disdain regarding groups like Xasthur and Nortt, it is very cool and metal to contemplate sitting in a dank, dim dungeon, covered in filth and rattling one’s chains, but y’know, it kind of gets boring after a half hour without an occasional ray of light to follow along the floor or field trip to the torture chamber to pass the time.

Apparently, on this outing, the band realize this too, as the CD version I review also includes their cover of Discharge’s “Maimed and Slaughtered”, originally slated for their split with Thee Plague of Gentleman, which if not breaking the monotony, at least livens it up a bit.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
July 24th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Tim

    The music might be drone, but Mr. Gnesin’s reviews never are!!! Continuing to set the bar for metal reviews, sir!


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