Review: Moonloop – Devocean – Listenable Records – Release: March 24th, 2017.
Moonloop is a Spanish progressive death metal band, which was founded in 2001. Their debut album was released in 2012 and was generally received well. At their debut the band’s sound was being compared to Opeth, Gojira and Death.
Eric Baule – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Juanjo Martin – Guitar, Bachground vocals
Vic Granell – Bass
Raul Payán – Drums
A few things are immediately evident about the new album’s sound. The singer’s grunts have become much deeper and more powerful. The album has more frequent and more abrupt transitions. Also the album contains more effects than the debut. While they aren’t on the foreground, keyboards have been added to the album.
The first song, ‘Megalodon’ starts with a crescending guitar melody, which sounds like an impending doom. This is chosen well for a song about a gigantic shark. When the full band joins, the song develops to be a heavy progressive one with lots of variety. The bass also gets lots of breathing space. Throughout the song music and lyrics align well.
‘Nightmare Gallery’ is maybe even heavier than the first song. Musically it projects the feeling of being stuck in a nightmare well, for instance in the part where running away scared is emulated with blastbeats. The heavier parts are contrasted by solos which remind me of Devin Townsend and bass parts with a jazzy feel. The song has an athmosphere of encroaching fear and madness is a must listen.
‘Zeal’ is generally a bit slower than the first two songs. While it has sufficient heaviness, the solos are rather subdued and the song regularly is a bit melancholic. This time it’s the guitars that give off a jazz feel now and then. In spite of the laid back solos and passages, this song is still hectic with lots of transitions The intro with all its changes sounds as a struggle of feelings, as are the lyrics. On top of that, the more positive parts of the test are sung clean. The band clearly knows how to align music and lyrics.
The next song, ‘Expired Kings’, clearly shows their own soloing style, that’s less on the foregound at the earlier songs. This song shows a Dream Theater like influence that is employed as transition between two lyrically different passages. The use of multiple singing styles is again used as support for the lyrics.
How to call the intro for ‘Medusa ‘? Jazzcore? In any case, it immediately demands your attention. This is a song with rather a lot of Opeth influences. For the lead guitar, by this point a clear sound of its own has been found. All in all a very nice death metal song. The subject of the lyrics can’t have been a nice lady.
‘Oceans’ has a lot of clean singing. It is a mix van of the bands own sound and the Gojira influences mentioned earlier. I even think I recognise some Obituary. The transition between sections are more smooth than on the earlier songs. The music seems to evoke the nature sung about in the song. In ‘Interglacial’, I notice harmonised parts. It’s a nice song with good drums and towards the end it tends to get djent-like.
The last song, ‘Origin’, starts with an acoustic intro in eighties style, after which the full band joins. Again, this is a song focused on processing several feelings. Like in earlier songs, the band shows this by mingling heavy parts with melancholic parts, clean guitars and clean singing. A good ending song for a good album.
‘Devocean’ has more influences than the first album and in spite of that a sound more of their own. The band aligns lyrics and music well, also in transition to other lyrical themes. Moonloop could integrate the influences into their style even more. The songs are very good each and every one. However, as the album progresses, the band lets melancholy shine through in their technical metal more and more. For people who love progressive or technical metal, this is an album you can listen to and enjoy and which won’t bore for a long time.
Score: 4 out of 5
02. Nightmare Gallery
04. Expired Kings
Text by: Marcel Bergervoet