If you have ever read any of my reviews, you’ve probably noticed that I like to describe things using comparisons. I’ve never been one for superfluous words, so I feel comparisons translate the most effectively for me. I’m also no longer a practicing musician, and even when I was, music theory was never my strong suit. Comparisons are also easy to come by in music. Some are true, some are false, but someone can usually understand them. One such comparison has come up about the band I’m writing about, the Spanish progressive death metal band Moonloop. Their latest album, Devocean, will be released March 24, 2017 via Listenable Records.
Moonloop, like many of their peers, inevitably has been compared to Opeth. I don’t know why this is, other than because Opeth is possibly the most iconic band of their genre. I suppose if I was to follow suit, on Devocean one of the similarities I appreciate is in the production. The sound of the album to me is not overly processed, much like say Orchid or Still Life, so as to not let the musician’s talents be overshadowed by the job of the engineers. After this, it’s the typical riffs and chord progression familiarities.
Opening track ‘Megalodon’ jumps right in with some sweet noodling and double kick drums. The rhythm may be kind of start/stop, but the back beat is solid. Songs like this ‘Nightmare Gallery,’ and ‘Expired Kings’ bounce around quite a bit, but never lose you. Eric Baulenas’ (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards) dark vocals, and lyrics, sometimes sound like Nathan Explosion incarnate. Most of the songs focus on this, so when his light vocals kick in, like on ‘Zeal,’ it’s kind of a refreshing surprise. Something else surprising is the strong presence of Vic A. Granell and his bass. He really gets to flex his muscles at the beginning of and throughout ‘Medusa.’ The breakdowns where he and drummer Raul Payan go off on their own are also great. Baulenas rips through a sweet solo also. One thing about Moonloop’s style, everything they do sounds deliberate, and nothing is forced. For example, the song ‘Intergalactical’ may start out electrified, but acoustic elements slowly creep in, eventually becoming a mainstay of the song. Closing track ‘Origin’ does this also, but in reverse order. Speaking of acoustic, Moonloop and the songs on Devocean, I feel they both could easily be presented unplugged, and they would translate very well.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Moonloop has created a very enjoyable record in Devocean. With a song inspired by Frank Schatzing novel “The Swarm” (‘Oceans’), and another dedicated to Vincent Price (‘Nightmare Gallery’), it’s as fun to listen to multiple times as it is unpredictable on its first spin. If Moonloop keeps elevating their craft as they’ve done on Devocean, it should help them maintain their own identity, versus garnering more comparisons to their peers.
02. Nightmare Gallery
04. Expired Kings
Playing time: 58:53
Release date: March 24, 2017
Label: Listenable Records