Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Moonblood - Rehearsal 6 (1996)

In the bitter cold nights of January 1996, Moonblood entered their most grim and unholy rehearsal place to record another collection of songs, this one simply known as Rehearsal 6. Captured on tape between Siegfried (Die Sage vom Helden) and Blut & Krieg, this demo possesses a surprisingly poor sound and the material is very inconsistent.

The overall quality of the production, for lack of a better word, is rather lousy. This is not only a drop from the last demo, but it makes the previous rehearsal tape, Under the Cold Fullmoon, sound like it was recorded in a decent studio. There is even more hissing and it sounds as if the band was playing in the basement, while the tape recorder was placed on the roof. In particular, "Under the Banner of Hate" and "Nosferatu" are of such terrible quality that they are not even worth listening to. This is a shame, as the latter is one of my favourite songs by this band and it would have been nice to hear something clearer than the original, which was already difficult to make out at times. In fact, this is even worse. Everything just kind of runs together, at times, leaving you to strain your ears to hear anything beneath the rumbling of the drums and the vocals. Occasionally, a guitar melody rises from the darkness, but not for long. To ruin the sound even more, it sounds like the mic cuts out during one of the songs, resulting in the vocals being almost entirely imperceptible.

Regarding the songwriting, it would appear that some of the flaws of Under the Cold Fullmoon were corrected this time around. Still they did retain the tendency to add intro riffs that don't add all that much to the atmosphere of the song, rather than just sticking to a more straightforward approach. It must be said that Gaamalzagoth's vocals are much more tormented on this tape, featuring a lot of horrible shrieks and inhuman screams. However, the muddiness of the recording make it really difficult to fully immerse yourself in this material. Being well acquainted with the brilliant songwriting of Occulta Mors, once can be sure that there are some genius ideas floating around, but it is nearly impossible to appreciate this since the rehearsal is so inaudible. Songs like "Once There Was Darkness" and "Night of Crimson Fire Storms" possess brief moments where the tremolo melodies penetrate the fog and all seems clear for a few moments. Unfortunately, this is ephemeral. The latter seems to feature some very morose riffs that work well to create a very gloomy feeling. Mixed in with the eerie tremolo melodies are riffs that are somewhat reminiscent of the old Mütiilation demos, solidifying this as the best song on here. The cover of Bathory's "Enter the Eternal Fire" isn't bad, and the mid-paced riffs offer a little more clarity in sound, though the overall effect is inferior to the original. That is often a problem when covering songs from a legendary band such as Bathory. As for "Warriors of Metal", this definitely sounds like a cover song as well, but I have no idea who the artist might be, if this is the case. The songwriting is purely in the '80s Metal style and judging by the absolutely atrocious vocals, it would make sense if the original utilized clean vocals. This sounds completely unnatural and bloody awful to be recorded by a band like Moonblood. If it is one of their songs, then they really dropped the ball with this horrendous attempt at making an old school tune. This may be the single worst thing that I have ever heard from this band.

Rehearsal 6 may be the first Moonblood recording that is not really essential in any manner. "Night of Crimson Fire Storms" and "The Hordes from the North Side" are worth hearing, despite the poor sound, but the rest is rather forgettable or too hindered by the terrible quality. This is a rather despicable tape and one that would not be worth sitting through in its entirety, even out of curiosity.