Moon Oracle – Muse of the Nightside

Band: Moon Oracle
Title: Muse of the Nightside
Label: Signal Rex
Release Date: 27 August 2021
Country: Finland
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

As Aaron Lewis would say, it’s been a while… since I turned in an album review here at BAZ HQ, but after a good run of interviews it’s time to get back to the nitty gritty, and what better way to get back on the album review horse than with a quirky piece of bass heavy, avant garde leaning black/doom metal primitivism? “Muse of the Nightside” is the first (almost) full-length (it’s 24min long) by Finland’s Moon Oracle. As both the band’s and the releases name should tip you off this is moon music, music of the night and of primal forces.

This release harks back to early, primitive black metal, with traces of Venom and early Celtic Frost, but although you could just about believe this music was made 30 years ago, the band take their influences and twist them into their own unique, barbaric style with a thick, churning, bass heavy aesthetic, that’s slithering and gut churning. At times, like on “A Rape on the Plain of Nysa” the band charge in a kind of primitive black metal blitz, but it’s with the contrast of gruellingly slow doom passages, like on brooding, ominous “Rite of Chthonic Mother” (with its great undulating bass line) and the excellent opener “The Huntress and the Hunter” that the band shows their distinctive quality. In the latter track, the band alternate between mid-tempo pounding, high tempo flurries and great, weird heavy as all hell doomy, bass driven wanderings. Where Type O Negative blended hardcore/thrash with doom on their earlier albums, Moon Oracle take a similar approach to doom, but marry it to raw black metal and they do it well.

At 6 tracks and 24minutes this release is over well before any sense of the band overstaying their welcome sets in. Alongside the definite high point of the opening track, the ultra, gloomy, early Neurosis invoking Crossroads (Mysterium Triformis) with its hypnotic, spoken word passage that morphs into a bloodcurdling, seasick black metal charge, is a standout, as is the six and half minutes of closer “The 10th Hour”. Despite how rough and raw this album might appear throughout on first listen, the closing track might be the best example of how surprisingly odd and interesting this music is. The band never stays locked for too long at any pace, and the rumbling bass heavy sound packs a punch whatever tempo the band chooses to ride out (usually for about a minute) before they’re pumping the breaks or putting their foot down.

In “Muse of the Nightside”, Moon Oracle have put together six tracks that bring to mind a murderer’s row of great, odd, extreme metal forces with a final set of songs that doesn’t quite sound like anyone else. A surprising little gem and a band with a lot of potential. 7.5/10 Tom Boatman

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