Moor describes their brand of music as “post-black metal,” but those expecting to find truly experimental black metal blended with other genres should look elsewhere. This is ultimately a black metal record that draws heavily from second-wave black metal but flirts with the melodic sensibilities and accessibility of modern Blackgaze. Their latest release, Glava I, would find itself equally at home on your shelf next to Satyricon’s Dark Medieval Times or Germs’ 2013 offering, Grief. Though the audience for this style might be niche, Moor succeeds in delivering a well crafted and incredibly engaging record, making no sacrifices in the process. Everything sound on this record is intentional and focused, with a vision very clearly laid out.
With only six songs, Moor really shines with each of their fluctuating arrangements. Each track ebbs and flows, moving in all the right places, with multiple feel changes throughout. Every song, at some point, shifts between hallmark tremolo picking and passages led by clean guitars and ambient supporting keyboards. At times, it seems like the band simply can’t commit to straying too far outside of the black metal paradigm, but rather just far enough. This is not a criticism – oddly enough, this makes the album accessible to all but the most “purist” black metal listeners, and to those who might have been led down the path to the genre from more mainstream shoegaze-inspired black metal like Deafheaven. Consider this album one of many missing links between the two, though firmly rooted in the ways of old.
The album opens with Nöck, the shortest song, clocking in at 6:25. They’ve managed to condense no less than three distinct movements in that time, and the song serves as a fantastic teaser to what follows. The standout tracks on this record are the ambitious Seventh Circle, almost hitting the ten minute mark. Opening with harsh vocals over clean guitars, the build on this song evokes proper doom and gloom, and so effortlessly drops into relentless double bass passages. Even more impressive is pulling off that massive buildup back to back, with the following (self-titled) track Moor, which will satisfy those looking for the ambient black metal on this offering. The band does away with the ear-piercing, ice pick guitar sound of the bands that have clearly influenced them, instead opting for a rounder top end and use of delay on the lead work. This is especially present on the latter half of the record. The divide almost feels intentional, that the first half of the record will draw in traditional fans and new listeners, but Side B takes all of the risks.
The boldest move on this record, however, is the closer, Abschied. By the time you get to track six, you’ve got a good idea of what to expect – until halfway through, the band kicks into Swedish HM-2 style riffing, like a lost Grave or Entombed riff, with arpeggiated chords sparkling over it. They’ll switch up that momentum again twice before the album comes to a satisfying end. This is an ambitious band worth keeping an eye on.
Overal Score: 8/10
Review by: Tom Mis