Old Growth
Mossweaver

The number-one rule in creating success, is to fully commit to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. Trying to be successful in your career? Put in the extra hours and make yourself available whenever called upon. Want to be the best player on the field? Hit the gym and run practice drills like they’re your religion. Want to win at scrabble? Study the dictionary and hide an extra set of “Q’s” and “Z’s” under the table to grab when needed. Be relentless in your pursuits. TAKE NO PRISONERS.

The same can be said, certainly, about being a musician and being in a band. There’s the obvious stuff – practice your chosen instrument, find inspiration in listening to other bands, surround yourself with a group of dedicated artists. That stuff is all fine and dandy. But another part of it – and even as I write it sounds sorta gross – is recognizing your brand (ugh). In an age where information is readily and easily accessible, where it’s easier than ever to spot something manufactured and fake, successful bands are often the ones that go full-bore into whatever their “brand” happens to be. Blackened speed metal your thing? Put goats and blood everywhere and write songs about evil shit. Wanna be a Djent band? Grab that 8 string, get a nice clean haircut and nerd the fuck out with time signatures and shit… or whatever it is Djent people do I don’t really know anymore.

I bring all this up, because more than maybe a handful of bands I’ve come across in recent years, Old Growth is buying all-in to their brand, and creating a damn-near perfect product to fit the spooky, forest-dwelling theme they’ve created for themselves, and it’s pretty fuckin awesome.

Mossweaver is filled with the kind of spacious, atmospheric black metal purpose-built for introspective exploration, made for a sojourn through ancient, fog-enveloped woods and hills. Or like, just around your neighborhood. Whatever’s available. Just make sure your hike is a long one, cuz as you might expect with this kind of thing, Old Growth is anything but brief with their songwriting. Like Saor, Eldamar and other bands of this ilk, they just cannot help but need at least 7 minutes or so to let these songs flesh out and come to full fruition, the whole of the album’s 7 songs clocking in at just under an hour. But the whole point is for these songs to take you on a journey, and these certainly do. Peaks of outright fury and chaos, followed by valleys of subdued, beautifully layered dissonant guitars. It’s not really pertinent for me to do a full song-by-song breakdown (we’d be here until April), but the band does a nice job of giving each song its own defining moments that give it unique character. While the album as a whole doesn’t really break into anything approaching “unexpected,” specific stretches of songs grab your attention, like the D-Beat, somewhat crust-inspired break towards the end of “Red Clouds” before the band launches into a quasi-breakdown that’s layered with triumphant melodies that nicely contrast one of the album’s heavier moments – or the really cool, haunting melody midway through closer “Altar of Widsom” that I’ve found myself humming absent-mindedly while going about my day – there’s enough moments of unique inspiration that keep the an album of this length from becoming too monotonous.

I’m not sure I’m prepared to put this band on the same pedestal as I’ve placed similar acts Saor or Dödsrit (bands I hold in very high regard), but they’re certainly in the ballpark. Granted, I haven’t yet listened to this album in its proper setting – I probably need to head to the mountains, strap on my snowshoes, and head into the woods to really give this thing the proper experience it deserves. Maybe build a hut and get off the grid, hunt down a deer and perform a pagan ritual of thanks for its sacrifice and use it’s pelt to make myself a cloak. Make a stew in a cauldron over an open fire of my newly-made shelter, and hang the antlers above its entrance. Maybe then this album will really come together completely for me. Or maybe I’ll just try the snowshoeing thing.

Anyway what was I saying? Oh, right. Listen, I’m sure you get the gist of what this band and this album have to offer, but I’ll go back to my original point in this review – this is a good album from a band that knows exactly who they want to be, and execute that vision with gusto. From the beautiful, shamanistic album art, to the album’s overall tone and presence, everything is pulled off with conviction and purpose. Go ahead and give this album a shot – It’s well worth your time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
February 22nd, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Steve- excellent review and great Saor comparison. They venture into a bit of Sojourner territory too. Your review made me investigate the band. Great stuff. Thx.


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