Power of Metal.dk Review

The Moon and the Nightspirit
Style: Pagan Folk
Release date: 15 August, 2014
Playing time: 44:42

Holdrejtek” is the fourth release from the Hungarian duo The Moon and the Nightspirit. The purpose of this band is quite clear: to evoke pagan and folk mysticism through their music. This particular album is meant to evoke “a journey to the depth of soul, in search of the long-lost unity and the eternal link between Man and Nature.” While ultimately the interpretation of the music is left to the listener, I do believe descriptions like that accurately describe the sound of this album. It's artfully crafted and beautiful music, to put it simply.

The album has a very consistent style throughout, focusing on folksy yet highly ethereal rhythms. The intricate melodies are moody, contemplative, and emotionally ambiguous, although there is an occasional foray into emotions more reminiscent of pain and fear. The wide use of instruments by the duo, ranging from violin, morin khuur, dulcimer, harp, keyboards, soft percussion, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, and kalimba, rounds out the music and gives it a full and thick texture of lush soundscapes. The dominant instruments, however, are the acoustic guitar and the vocals. I really do hesitate to use the word “folksy” too much as it would imply something perhaps more akin to Ian Anderson's playful and quirky brand of flutework, but The Moon and the Nightspirit manage to tone down the frantic joy while injecting the listener with a more down-to-earth brand of folksiness.

While the album can best be characterized as having an investment in minimalist exploration of soft melancholy, with several minutes at a time of repeated patterns and motifs, “Holdrejtek” noticeably avoids the trap of creating an album that is beautiful but not distinctive. Every single track has its own character, its own stand-out moments, and it's own small story to tell. The opening track is a deliberative chant of mysticism driven by the lovely kalimba, while the wild and evocative wind instruments in the third track are simultaneously ominous and gorgeous. Occasionally some themes are repeated, but for the most part this is a collection of songs designed to thematically unite as a whole, not necessarily musically. For music like this, that's actually a good thing, as it prevents the listener from feeling fatigued before it's finished.

If there is one risk to that, however, it is Agnes Toth's vocals. Don't get me wrong – she is a gorgeous and magnificent singer. But she's also the only factor throughout the album that doesn't present itself too differently from song to song – it's the same style throughout. Luckily, for me, this works and I love it, but I can also imagine the album benefiting from the occasional experimentation away from the soft and slow vocals.

Holdrejtek” is a real treat. I think this music is oddly accessible for fans spanning metal to pop, so I can't imagine a single person I wouldn't recommend it to. Give it a listen and let it take you on a journey, wherever that may be for you.

01. Mohaszentély
Magban alvó
Mikrokozmosz pt 1
Mikrokozmosz pt 2
Label: Prophecy
Distribution: Soulfood
Artwork rating: 95/100
Reviewed by: Frank Mondelli
Date: 9 December, 2014
Website: www.themoonandthenightspirit.com