Many pieces of music evoke a journey, this demo from MANY MOONS AGO does so too. The incorporation of more influences than you can lob a shitty stick at goes some way to making “Of Mourning And Standing Stones” a light epic.
After the purely acoustic guitar intro, the Folkish tinged Metal of the second track jauntily steps out, its upbeat progression cut off later by darker forms. A wander through varying landscapes follows, harsh mid tempo guitar sections shake hands with Jose Feliciano-like mellow tones. Oft times the harsh/mellows join to provide a richer prospect, all this serving as a horse drawn cart for the tinder dry vocals. There are pure Heavy Metal moments walking the same path as Viking elements, Black Metal plays a more subtle part, adding counsel rather than bearing the brunt of the work.
Despite the lengthiness of the two tracks proper, boredom doesn't get a look in. A lot of effort has been expended by the sole individual responsible for this demo and much of it has gone into maintaining interest by varying the composition as much as the styles. These tracks are somewhat processional but they are also purposeful, they draw you along with them, the lift of soaring lead motifs take you skywards whilst the choppier Death Metal elements rub your nose in the earth. No influence has any primacy and whatever mood established is just setting itself up to be corrupted by something different.
Contemplative sections get a kick in the ribs from more heroic ones, it’s stroke of the thigh followed by a poke in the eye. The Pagan Metal roots are strongly represented but only make up a modest part of the whole, fortunately with so many differing aspects it's all glued together seamlessly and for a self produced demo, you can't fault the production. Despite the inclusion of “lighter” styles, this demo retains a hard edge and though there are plenty of places where extremity is a week away, there is no fluff whatsoever.
Ultimately enjoyable, “Of Mourning And Standing Stones” succeeds in building the atmosphere to describe a time long passed. Capable of hooking in listeners away from a wholly Metal scene, this demo should keep anyone with an ear for diversity happy. A full lengther is promised soon and on the strength of this, eagerly anticipated.
(Online February 1, 2007)