The Moth Gatherer
The Comfortable Low
31st March 2017 – Agonia Records
01. This Providence of Bones (feat. Dennis Lyxzén)
02. Still Life Slumbers Here (feat. Fred Burman)
The Moth Gatherer have been impressing beardy types for a while; having released two rock-solid records, they’re now firmly a band-to-watch – which puts them in a bit of an awkward position: having nailed two releases, do they continue on this path or, writing in a genre that favours innovation, do they really try to push the envelope? The hand of music criticism is cruel and no matter how competent a band are they can easily get filed as followers, not leaders. Time is running out! Panic!
Building up your own defining sound isn’t easy to do; previously they’ve flitted between cinematic atmospheres and the Cult of Luna model of riffy post-metal, but the approach they’ve taken on The Comfortable Low breaks this mould; I’m feeling a stronger personality than on previous releases.
The Comfortable Low features two tracks of dynamic post-metal. The highs work as well as the lows here; great news considering that the twinkly, spacey bits were the bits that worked the best for them on previous outings. Here the vocals have a much larger presence, helped in no small way by Dennis Lyxzén from Refused on “This Providence of Bones“. His voice has a late-career Ian Astbury quality which adds warmth and depth; it’s a little unexpected but it fits excellently and it’s a tasteful use of a guest musician.
“Still Life Slumbers Here” ties up the EP, leaning towards some hardcore influences (in no small way thanks to guest Fred Burman). Their more vocal approach works well for them; they get the chance to flex their atmospheric muscles but it seems that the framework of structured vocal parts has given them a tighter focus. Elsewhere I hear bits of Solstafir in amongst the Cult of Luna overtones, but it’s not weighted too heavily in any direction.
You can see the logic in a release like this; doing an EP after a couple of full-length releases tests the water for a change in direction. It’s easier to take risks in this environment and they’ve taken full advantage of this, taking their nebulous approach and tightening it, though allowing themselves space to fall back on what worked for them – deep, warm textures – without it smothering the tracks. Certainly, this release is a critical success, improving on some areas lacking previously whilst also moving forwards.
I remember reviewing their previous record The Earth is the Sky and getting a little lost when they leaned too heavily on their comfort zones. I’m happy to be proven wrong about a band; this shows a much more focused, songy direction. It may be too early to tell from just an EP, but if this is the direction that The Moth Gatherer are going in then I’m well on board.