Lurking at the threshold of the UK extreme metal underground for the better part of the last decade, Southampton’s heaviest trio Moss have seemingly been content to fester in the darkness, slowly gaining in mass and potency. Those who willfully submitted themselves to the nightmarish claustrophobia of previous releases “Cthonic Rites” and “Sub Tempulum” have had time to prepare themselves for this release, provided their minds were able to withstand those onslaughts, but newcomers to the fold may be somewhat relieved to discover that the axe has been wielded. The longest track is a mere eleven minutes long and there are even clean vocals evident. Is this just a mere ploy to ensnare the unwary? Read on.
The darkest recesses of the extreme doom scene that Moss occupy may be shunned by those who dwell in the light, who accuse these acts of compensating for their lack of talent and ideas by just playing really slowly. While this may be true of some imitators, one thing that most of these elusive and cult bands possess is a truly devastating guitar tone that rolls over you like a steamroller. Moss has such a guitar tone, and over the course of an hour they administer it without mercy and with a methodical patience that only the true ancient ones can hold. This is the feeling of being slowly suffocated by Cthulhu’s rather hefty backside as one of his insane acolytes holds court over proceedings with tales of a most horrible night indeed. Vocalist Olly Pearson has opted for a cleaner Ozzy Osbourne-esque delivery this time round, rather than the strangled screeching of old, although this does pop up halfway through ‘Horrible Nights’ as if to remind you just how desperate your situation has become.
The influence of Electric Wizard is undeniable, but Moss are in favour of taking the long route through caverns of dirge with strictly no detours into boogie or heaven forbid, pace. Thankfully there are no 70s occult clichés evident either, just a processional march into the abyss that only the wide-eyed and willing should attempt to take. The hopeless theme is maintained throughout the downbeat sludge-doom of ‘Bleeding Years’ as all light is methodically blinked out of existence. ‘Dark Lady’ somehow slows the pace even further so that we begin approaching funeral doom territory and it’s at this stage when you realise that there is nothing you can do. The old ones will claim you for your own as the call of R’lyeh becomes irresistible. The band surely knows you are damned, for why else would Pearson be chanting “I’m looking back at you”? How could a trio of wasters accomplish this? They don’t even have a bassist yet they sound as if they weigh as much as a planet. As your mind decays under the waves of sonic immensity piercing your eardrums, you may remember brief snatches of your previous life, but that is now irrelevant. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fftagn!