Sunday, April 27, 2014

Moonblood - Fullmoon Witchery (1996)

As part of the monumental From Hell boxed set, released in November 2013, there is included a 7" E.P. that was originally recorded in 1996. Though only containing two tracks, Fullmoon Witchery is one of Moonblood's best efforts and is absolutely essential for fans of the band and of Black Metal, in general. The reasons for never properly releasing this at the time seem rather mysterious, as this is yet another recording that displays the genius that this band possessed and would have easily stood out among the majority of the albums that were released back then.

The music conveys an atmosphere that is cold and sombre. The fast-picked tremolo melodies are very memorable and possess a melancholic quality without being overtly depressive in the sense that is commonly associated with some bands, these days. The title track features some additional melodies that really add to the epic feeling of the song. As with many of their other works, it is as if this music transports your mind back in time. There is a gloominess that exists to mourn the world that was lost, long before this wrong and empty existence came into being. As for "Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the 3rd Angel", there is a bit of a Viking-era Bathory influence in the acoustic intro and the mid-paced riffs that serve to further take you on a journey to another time and place. Regardless of which style that Occulta Mors utilized, he was always able to create an epic atmosphere, which was accentuated by the evil and hellish voice of Gaamalzagoth. At times, the second song seems to foreshadow what would come with Nachtfalke. Some of the playing is a bit rough, but the vibe is always genuine and pure, which is worth more than a million "perfectly executed" albums with the sickening modern production and no feeling, whatsoever.

Regarding the production, this ranks alongside Sob a lua do bode and Of Lunar Passion and Sombre Blood as having the best sound of any recording throughout the band's career. Unlike the many demos and rehearsals, where one would have to train the ear and put forth effort to make out what was going on, at times, the guitars come through very well, here. The brilliant melodies created by Occulta Mors are able to be more fully appreciated on Fullmoon Witchery. The guitar tone is cold and, though not razor-sharp, still rather thin and trebly which suits the music perfectly. The blood-chilling screams and hateful-filled vocals are mixed at a perfect level to be heard and yet to not overpower the rest. The same can be said of the drumming, which is clear enough but not overbearing.

Fullmoon Witchery clocks in at only ten minutes in length and consists of but two songs, yet this recording is far more essential and important than 90% of the Black Metal releases that have come since its creation in 1996. These tracks have been floating around on bootlegs for some time, but if you haven't already acquired them in some manner then make haste in doing so now. This is highly recommended and is a good example of Black Metal done right... something that is often lost on people, in this disgusting modern age.