Released: 2013, Agonia Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I have recently had to admit to myself that I have been over-dubious of debut albums...or perhaps metal bands’ debuts have just got better over the years. At any rate, with ‘A Bright Celestial Light,’ Sweden’s The Moth Gatherer have crafted an impressive start to their career.
Brought to you by Alex Stjernfeldt and Victor Wegeborn, who, between them handling all instruments and songwriting, make it hard to imagine how long this album may have taken to construct. There is such a huge-yet-refined level of creativity gone into the 5 not-too-lengthy tracks presented here, such adept musicality and a level of songwriting befitting a much more established band that my mind is left somewhat boggled.
Progressive is certainly a word to describe what is going on here, but I’m not sure if it would be wise to define it so. Tempo changes, musical variations and what can only be described as flitting between genres are all set forth with such subtlety and aplomb that once again, my simple mind struggles to grasp exactly how they managed it. Each grinding riff, every disharmonious, jangling clean section feels so smooth and well set out and yet all carry enough weight to begin to wrench your stomach and make you realise that this is what was missing from your life, even if you didn’t know it. Not an easy feat for any musician.
While the songs throughout the album all have a defined, overall sound to them, there are many individually memorable moments which have made picking a favourite difficult; The industrial grind mixed with those jangly clean guitar soundscape melodies over a doom rhythm section of ‘A Road of Gravel and Skulls;’ the melodic experimentalism reminiscent of Gojira on instrumental track ‘A Falling Deity,’ taking you on a journey through music you may have never imagined and ending delicately on a heartfelt piano line. It may be that this album just ticks all the right boxes for me, but then I hope it does for you too. My one criticism would be that the drum sound at some points lets the side down, sounding a little too processed for my own personal taste.
With each band in the whatever-you-want-to-define-it-as, post-metal, shoegaze, avant-garde, experimental genres being extremely highly thought of, it must seem daunting for any new band to try and join the heady ranks. Up there with bands of the Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Cult of Luna, possibly even The Melvins or Fantomas ilk, (T.M.G aren’t afraid to mix it up,) but they have done a sterling job with ‘A Bright Celestial Light’ and I hope this album spreads like wildfire and projects The Moth Gatherer into the same stratosphere with these other extremely well-thought-of bands.
I for one will be keeping an eye on these guys’ hopefully bright, celestial career.
Review by Kevin Griffiths