Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moonblood - Dusk Woerot (2003)

Dusk Woerot is the final release from Moonblood, marking an end to a brilliant and oddly obscure musical career. The band always went out of their way to limit their recordings, part of this being that they released only vinyl and cassettes. In the autumn of 2000, Gaamalzagoth and Occulta Mors created music together for one final time, before the demise of Moonblood. The issue of this unholy union would not see the light of day for a few years, as the two musicians soon went their separate ways. And so the most revered band of the German Black Metal scene faded into oblivion, ending in an appropriate manner: a demo tape limited to 666 copies.

This demo begins with an ominous intro, as an evil voice calls out from the darkness, amid sounds of bitter cold winds and ravens circling overhead through the stormy night. This leads into the first proper song, "Dusk Woerot: Chapter II", which starts with an icy tremolo riff that carves into you flesh and allows the blood to flow into the waiting mouths of nocturnal ghouls. The material is quite similar to that of Taste Our German Steel, as well as the various split releases. This is raw and minimalist Black Metal with obvious influences from early Bathory and Darkthrone. The guitar melodies are very memorable and this track actually holds its own up against anything else that the band has recorded.

"Dusk Woerot: Chapter III" continues where the previous song leaves off, though taking on a slightly darker feeling. It is very straightforward and fast-paced, with no real variation in tempo. The guitar tone is thin and razor-like, which suits the music perfectly. The production is rough, but absolutely clear enough to appreciate everything that is going on. Of course, this is how underground Black Metal should sound. The mix is just right, with the drums serving only to keep time and never dominating the sound. The guitars could have been slightly higher, but they are easily heard. The vocals are sinister and wicked, with no hint of humanity remaining.

The final song is "Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation", which starts out with an acoustic intro that sounds reminiscent of Viking-era Bathory. This can be seen as a kind of foreshadowing, hinting at the next full-time project of Occulta Mors: Nachtfalke. The longest track on here, this mid-paced tune clocks in at nearly eight minutes. It is a little plodding, until the latter half where a nice epic melody emerges. This is a good song, but the band's best moments were always the faster riffs, in my opinion.

And with this brief demo, the musical entity known as Moonblood marched onto the battlefield one final time. Dusk Woerot is not the definitive representation of this band's capabilities, yet it offers a glimpse into the brilliance wrought by Gaamalzagoth and Occulta Mors over the years and is a worthy addition to anyone's collection.