Mo’ynoq – A Place For Ash

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Mo'ynoq - A Place For Ash
Mo’ynoq – A Place For Ash

Reviewed: November, 2022
Released: 2022, self-released
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann

Mo’ynoq are an American black metal band who formed in 2016 and who independently released their sophomore album ‘A Place For Ash’ on 23rd September, 2022. It follows a 2016 demo, a 2017 EP and their debut full length ‘Dreaming in a Dead Language’ unleashed in 2019. The four piece are inspired by acts such as Immortal, Wolves in the Throne, and Mgla. The band have taken their name from an Uzbekistan city. Why, I don’t know. Maybe because it has faced economic decline. Very black metal. 

It’s super hard writing about music you have hardly any strong feelings about, whatsoever. The best way I can describe this album is average in almost all areas, apart from one neat moment that I’ll get to. In the album, there are some nice and melodic bass lines on occasion, the guitar chords are perfectly reasonable, if a little on the dreary side, and the drummer should be praised for his stamina and criticised for his complete lack of creativity, but other than that? I’m not sure what to say. A real tough one. The fuzzy and chunky solo guitar chords in the intro of the last track WERE a highlight for me, however. They are by far the most accessible ideas of the whole album, showing you that black metal doesn’t have to be emotionally painful to listen to. Rather than the chords conjuring up visions of Hell, I’m more reminded of peaceful, if mournful seas/sailors! And that’s fine! Lasting almost three minutes, you get plenty of the style, too. But as far as high points go, that’s basically it (other than the rare but well executed sweep picking). After that intro, it seems the sailors have exploded, somehow, in a world of furious blast beats. I guess it was inevitable. 

On the plus side, I’m not suggesting the band are ripping off classic acts such as Darkthrone (again), these guys do have their own sound. Powerful, well produced, slightly strange, depressing, and here’s the kicker: not like Darkthrone. That really is worth pointing out twice. You would not believe the amount of Dark clones I’ve heard. Dozens. I’ve also pointed that out at least three times. I’m not saying such a combination of said traits is unique, far from it, but the act do have something that makes them stand out from the crowd, at least a little. (Again worth pointing out twice). To make an analogy, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were/are grunge, but do they sound the same? Nope. It’s hard to describe how something has similar traits, yet is different. So yeah, the economically failing city is trying to do its own thing. I’m not sure if the sometimes ultra dissonant harmonies in ‘Synchromysticism’ work. Sure, such an idea is often a great musical tool, but there becomes a point where it is OTT. In comparison, do tempos of 1000 bpm sound exciting? Nope, they sound like buzzing noises. They’ve gone too far. But really that was a nitpick, from someone desperate to find things to write about. 

In conclusion there is very little about this music that stands out as truly positive, but on the plus side the only things that are off-putting, are the averageness of quality and the fact it’s incredibly hard to write about. But obviously the latter is my problem, not the fault of the band. Again, they don’t really rip anyone off, but even so, they could try harder to stand out. The guitarist can sweep well, showing his skill, but how about sweeping more? How about more excellent and tasteful lone guitar sections that even wimpy black metal posers can handle? Why does everyone have to be so brutal all the time? The bassist knows what I’m talking about, he’s written some very tasty fills. Singer and drummer take note. All in all, you won’t be surprised when I say don’t necessarily go out and get the album right this second, (believe it or not, some of the physical versions have sold out on Bandcamp, so what do I know?), but you can do a lot worse. 


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Tracklisting:

1. Penance
2. Throes Of Ardent Disposition
3. Effigies Adorned In Fire
4. Synchromysticism
5. The Beast That Mourned At The Heart Of The Mountain

Band line-up:

Logan Holloway – Guitar & vocalsDonald Boyd – Guitar & vocalsDevin Janus – Bass & vocalsJustin Valletta – Drums

Websites:

Bandcamp
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