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Moss - "Horrible Night" (CD)

Moss - "Horrible Night" CD cover image

"Horrible Night" track listing:

1. Horrible Nights (10:58)
2. Bleeding Years (7:05)
3. Dark Lady (11:04)
4. Dreams from the Depths (4:18)
5. The Coral of Chaos (10:02)
6. I Saw Them That Night (10:43)

Reviewed by on April 26, 2013

"Little has changed musically for Moss, as they straddle the line of hopeless doom and stifling drone, letting the riffs stretch out and expand until the feedback becomes unbearable."

If you think it takes a long time to get to a point in this review, then you are well-prepared to hear Moss’s new album, “Horrible Night.” It’s not news that the band likes their doom in drone fashion, echoing riffs on top of resounding drums. Their last release, 2009’s “Tombs of the Blind Drugged,” was a nightmarish take on traditional doom. The crypt-like atmosphere was appropriate, and set the tone for Moss and their anti-melodic stance. “Horrible Night” is not as effective, scraping by on a fuller production and larger vocal dynamics. Those are welcomed traits, though they help to take away the stark horror the band pulled off on “Tombs of the Blind Drugged.”

Little has changed musically for Moss, as they straddle the line of hopeless doom and stifling drone, letting the riffs stretch out and expand until the feedback becomes unbearable. There are instances where feedback is a prevalent source of noise, like in the final minutes of “I Saw Them Last Night.” Repetition is also a factor, though it was also one with “Tombs of the Blind Drugged.” Little variation is present, and when there is, the tempo doesn’t buckle much.

The crisper production is a double-headed demon; the instrument tones are clearer, but the atmosphere takes a dive. There’s no feelings of suffocation and dread that were heard on past releases, meaning that these songs don’t leave the same impression. That’s not to say that they are poorly performed, but the songs come off more neutered. “Dreams from the Depths” side-swipes this situation by providing an acoustic-laced instrumental that gets dissonant by the end of its brief (by Moss’s standards) four minutes.

The melodic vocals are more prevalent here than they were on “Tombs of the Blind Drugged,” and that’s also a mixed bag. Some of this music screams for more...well, screams. Lines like, “These awful nights, horrible nights/They’re driving me insane,” don’t have as big of an impact when sung out. Still, when the harsh vocals set in, they are chilling. Though lyrics aren’t fleshed out, as the music by itself takes up the majority of the running time, “Dark Lady” tells a hell of a story about an evil woman infecting the minds of the innocent.

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard any new music from Moss, and the time didn’t make many changes to what they have been schilling out since 2001. “Horrible Night” is demented doom bordering on claustrophobic drone, and is not made with the casual metal fan in mind. Moss has reserved a niche for themselves, with little deviation from the goosebumps-inducing torture that has become their go-to. “Horrible Night” is not always on point, but when the band gets in gear, it’s the macabre metal head’s dream soundtrack.

Highs: Straddles the line between doom and drone well, “Dreams from the Depths” is a great instrumental, band has found their niche and exploit it well

Lows: Atmosphere is not as intoxicating as on previous albums, melodic vocals are a mixed bag, variety lacking

Bottom line: "Horrible Night" is not as scary and disturbed as their past albums, though it has enough moments to warrant a listen.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)