December Moon - _Source of Origin_
(Spinefarm Records, 1996)
by: Steve Hoeltzel (7 out of 10)
Despite what you would naturally expect, given the name of this two-man band and its members' previous connection with Cradle of Filth, this is not really black metal. There's a definite hint of blackness to the sound at times, and the vocals are for the most part high-pitched and raspy, but musically, this duo bows to no trend. Instead, they pay homage to the old gods, composing enjoyable, fairly traditional metal which defies easy labeling but respects foreboding atmospheres, power, and weight. (Still, this is not merely another of those tributes to 80s bands that have become quite the trend of late.) Instrumental "Exaltation of Power" begins the album like a somber roll of thunder. "You Can't Bless the Damned" continues, and sets the standard for the rest of the CD: songs which favor mid-paced galloping over the occasional fast charge, and nicely arrange numerous riffs, verse patterns, and moody synthesizer washes. On this track and "The Apparition of Mother Earth", they weld cool riff to cool riff and make some powerful and captivating music. (On the latter song, vocalist Rob unexpectedly lets loose the way-high notes and gives King Diamond a run for his money.) Still, the keyboard-based "Winter Sunset" and "Black Millennium" put a real damper on things, and the songs I haven't mentioned generally prove less interesting than their counterparts. Also, I think the band would sound -much- heavier if the vocals didn't dominate the mix so much. This CD contains some cool songs, and I think Rob and Was demonstrate the potential to do something killer, but this isn't quite it.

(article published 1/2/1997)


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