“Progressive Darkness” has a dignified reputation on American soil by now receiving very good reviews through the entrancing Metal music contained inside. The Canadian band is now aiming for a European conquest as well through Escapi.
Alex had hinted in his review that the album would be something out of the ordinary, maybe even challenging, therefore I volunteered for the assignment to review it. Challenge accepted!!! My first listen with MOONLYGHT’s debut album tore me apart; I listened helplessly and witnessed the Dark Metal grandeur pass by without hearing half of what was going on. Then I sat down and went through each track one baby step at the time and now I feel a round of applause is in order, this stuff is killer, keep in mind this is only a debut.
As pointed out by the album title this is darkness that progresses as the minutes go by. The album’s entrance is presented by the 8-minute hymn “Fantasy”. Already after this one track it’s difficult to pinpoint the band to a single genre. Power, Progressive, Black, Death, Folk, Thrash, Epic, Gothic, Doom Metal, you name it, there’s so much of everything that’s well arranged and well played although I must say the clean vocals lack some raging passion. Some of the clean vocals are not the best I’ve heard (not that many of them actually) and clearly need to be more heartfelt to be able to lock in with the beautiful atmospheres. The Black Metal screaming however is very evil sounding.
Next up we have a personal favourite called “The Sceptic Traveller” which begins with a traditional Heavy Metal intro that leads into a web of saddened Doom laden melodies. Later on acoustic guitars are shared with symphonic keyboards. Then the song goes into a glorious instrumental section filled with touches of Progressive Metal with a fat capital P. I’ll just stop there, man what a lovely track!!!
The songs are lengthy, 7 to 12-minutes long. There’s no sign of repetition at all, every minute reigns supreme whether it’s an atmospheric passage or a technical instrumental rally. The title cut with its almost 12-minute running time is quite difficult to appreciate at the first listen because there is so much going on at once, but mark my words, after repeated listens you’ll discover an epic work worthy of infinite praise, at least from my side.
Songwriting is excellent and is based on the keyboard atmospheres. The ideas they’ve got are daring and exciting, there’s basically no limitation whatsoever. This is the decisive element of their music. Anyone can play Black/Death/Power Metal and forget about being unique, MOONLYGHT go another route and search for that something that makes a music group stand out, freshness, originality. Sound production is very good for a debut, the drums could’ve been beefed up a bit, but the sound itself is good though, so it’s not fatal if I don’t get my way this time.
I’m definitely on the MOONLYGHT wagon now, one can only wonder what comes next when so much has been achieved on a debut album. Oh well, we can only hope for the best, for now check “Progressive Darkness” and prepare to be amazed!!! (Online May 11, 2004)