On the Blackest of Nights is one of those albums which does not truly light any fires, raging or otherwise, within the heart or its passions but still finds a welcome and contented place in the ear. Void Moon its creator, is a band which is openly accomplished and skilled in ability and songwriting, but arguably the album offers more promise ahead than a realised height of triumph in the now. But the album is a welcome and pleasurable companion to spend time within, even if the urgency to return is not as elevated as with many other metal releases.
Formed in 2009 by bassist Peter Svensson, drummer Thomas Hedlund, and vocalist/guitarist Jonas Gustavsson, Void Moon creates an undemanding melodic expanse of doom metal. It is not a sound which extinguishes light or labours with heavy intensive shadows, as there is perpetual melodic warmth which offers an escape from the desolation and emptiness inferred, but it is music to draw strong imagery from. The line-up is completed by lead guitarist Erika Wallberg who joined the band after the release of debut demo EP Through the Gateway in 2010. The album which is released by Cruz del Sur consists of re-recorded tracks from that demo and its successor The Mourning Son of the following year, the band evolving and revitalising those tracks to take their place alongside new songs on their first full length offering.
The tracks sees influences in the likes of Black Sabbath and Candlemass as well as Solitude Aeturnus and Hammers of Misfortune flavouring the music which transports themes of death, philosophy, heathen rituals and the teachings of Crowley through the ear. It makes for at times an evocative proposition lyrically which arguably the sounds do not always quite match or rise to. Despite that the album certainly engages throughout and reveals within its sombre presence some stylish play and impressive craft.
The album opens with Hammer Of Eden, a track which even now leaves indecision as to how good it is and how much it is liked. It is one of those songs which alternate between alienating personal taste and preferences to thrilling those same barriers with strong ideas and invention. The opening sweeps of classic metal guitar and plodding rhythms are decent yet uninspiring though the bass does offer a slight snarl. The track then slows even more to further raise eyebrows but then the already okay vocals of Gustavsson find a declaration and delivery which is unexpected and compulsive. Being extra critical the song feels like its cohesion of elements and shifting passage is struggling to stay together but it works and by the end the song has argued its case with a lingering satisfaction even if it never fully convinces.
The likes of the title track with its slowly winding sharp melodic breath, the intriguing and magnetic The Word and the Abyss, and the slowly stomping Through the Gateway, all capture the imagination without dazzling expectations. There is a thrash metal gait to many of these and the album which certainly keeps one fully engaged and determined to find out more. It is not an adrenaline driven aspect, its energy toned to lie with ease within the doom wrapped skies and intensity of the songs, but as in the latter of this trio it makes for an at times quite infectious lure.
Along with Through the Gateway, the track which stood to the fore was Among the Dying. It is a gentle and heated pleasure with a raw edge to the vocals which makes a firm compliment to the heated mesmeric melodies and caressing sounds. The song does dig into a feisty bag of energy at times to keep the track unpredictable and captivating and apart from the brief image painting instrumental Psychic Bleeding; it was the one time no persuasion to its glories was needed.
On the Blackest of Nights is an album without doubt is worth checking out especially if melodic metal lines your passions, but whether it will ignite greater flames than for us only time in its overall pleasing company will tell.
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