It’s always exciting to listen to a band’s debut album. As the old saying goes, you have forever to release your first album, so it’s a fascinating endeavor to hear what new bands bring to the table. Sometimes a band’s first album is a completely stunning, nearly perfect endeavor that makes you question how it could possibly be only their first album (Pallbearer’s Sorrow and Extinction and Ne Obliviscaris’ Portal of I are two recent examples). At the other end of the spectrum are albums that reflect the immaturity of the band and make you question why they bother making music in the first place (or at least who thought it was a good idea to sign them to a record deal). Endlessly in Motion, the debut full-length from Denver, Colorado’s Moth, falls in between these two extremes. It’s far from perfect, but it shows the potential decidedly present in the young band.
Playing a sort of melodic/progressive death metal hybrid, Moth do a great job of blending impassioned lyrics with heavy music. Album highlight “Vast Expansion” showcases all of this, as the rapid-fire drumming of Stephen Handler backbones the screams of Benton McKibben, while guitarist Dave O’Berry moves effortlessly from an acoustic intro more traditional melo-death fare. Encapsulating all of this are the synthesizers of Rhiannon Wisniewski, which provide an atmospheric quality to the music. The chorus of “Vast Expansion” is chill-inducing, as the musicians come together perfectly, all parts complementing each other to strengthen the song. McKibben has a nice range, moving deftly from whispers to a guttural roar, and he makes use of this throughout the album. Wisniewski’s synthesizer is also run through the gamut, as there are a myriad of atmospherics employed throughout Endlessly in Motion - but, as with a lot of melodic death metal, Moth live and dies by their guitar playing, and thankfully O’Berry is up to the task.
The primary fault with the album lies in its repetition; songs tend to start melodically, increase in heaviness leading up to an heartfelt chorus, move to more melodic bridge, repeat a few times, and then end. None of it is bad, mind you; quite the opposite, because all of the music is great – it just becomes a little tiring, blurring the songs together and making only the great moments stand out, instead of even the good ones. It’s a small quibble to have, I admit, but it definitely takes away from the overall enjoyment of what is a very solid debut.
Endlessly in Motion doesn’t reinvent progressive or melodic death metal, but it does a great job of being entertainment and creating excitement around the band. In fact, while listening to the album I couldn’t help but think of In Flames numerous times, as there are moments on the album (such as the chorus of “Vast Expansion”) where Moth nearly reach the heights of melo-death masterpieces Whoracle and The Jester Race.
While the entirety of Endlessly in Motion doesn’t reside at this apex, at no point does it fall to the nadir of, say Sounds Of A Playground Fading either. I realize it’s lame to compare one band to another, especially when trying to assign value to an album, so I apologize; that said, Moth’s Endlessly in Motion is the work of a band that warrants at least a listen, and perhaps more importantly, your attention going forth. It’s not a perfect album, but if this is what the band’s first try sounds like, then they have set the bar high for their future releases.