Moonlyght - _Progressive Darkness_
(Escapi, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (8.5 out of 10)
Quebec's Moonlyght released their debut album _Progressive Darkness_ in their home country in 2002 (through the tiny Metal Disk records), though it is now being re-released worldwide in hopes of it finding a wider audience. With any luck it will, as it's quite an impressive piece of work. As titles go, this album has a rather fitting one, though the music is really more progressive than dark. Moonlyght incorporate a variety of styles into their music, including progmetal, folk, power metal and black metal. The result is a unique sound that's simultaneously familiar and distinct. In this sense, they're like Extol, though they sound very different. A closer comparison musically would be Ebony Tears' _Tortura Insomniae_ [CoC #30] (before they released an albumful of nothing and went generic as hell) or Misanthrope [CoC #26], though Moonlyght are generally lighter, more diverse, and more progressive.

The songs are mostly over the seven minute mark, so the compositions are involved and non-traditional, featuring many different styles and changing quite frequently. Yet the music flows from style to style very well, as the band have clearly worked hard on making the transitions smooth. The music is dominated by the guitars, though the keyboards play a prominent role as well. But both instruments have a knack for keeping their parts appropriate and neither over- nor underplaying. For the sheer diversity of styles that are displayed here, that's not an easy feat. The rhythm section is competent, though they're not really exceptional in any aspect. They occasionally have a chance to do something interesting, but they're usually content to let the guitars, keyboards and vocals take the spotlight. The vocals come in four main styles: clean power metal, clean female, black metal raspy, and a half-clean Hetfield-esque style. All but the last are of average quality, and neither add to nor detract from the music. Unfortunately, the Hetfield-esque vocals just aren't very good, as they sound unnatural and forced to me. However, these vocals are a relatively small part of the album, and all together it's still very impressive. Moonlyght have been able to develop their own distinctive style, which is not something every band can say, especially on their debut album. Fans of progressive, melodic death metal should definitely search this out.

Contact: http://www.moonlyght.ca

(article published 9/30/2004)


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