Moonreich – Amer (Review)

Moonreich - AmerThis is the fifth album from Moonreich, a French black metal band.

Moonreich’s aggressive brand of modern black metal is always good to hear. Following on from 2018’s Fugue and 2019’s WormgodAmer contains 43 minutes of new material from this enjoyable band.

Moonreich have clearly put a lot of thought and development into their new material, and the band’s songwriting on Amer is probably their most adventurous and accomplished yet. The songs take their blackened core and expand on it with a variety of different sounds and ideas. Amer has a powerful production that matches the forceful nature of its music, allowing the band to make the full impact that these songs deserve.

While listening to this, at various points and various songs across Amer bands such as Psycroptic, Gojira, Thron, Dordeduh, Funeral Mist, and The Ocean all entered my mind, albeit with a modern black metal interpretation. This should hopefully go some way to demonstrate the fact that Moonreich have not restricted themselves on these new songs, despite the fact that everything here is all tastefully wrapped up in their contemporary blackened package. Even with these reference points, Moonreich have crafted a work that has a strong character of its own.

After a brief sample, opener Of Swine and Ecstasy begins, and the album immediately grabs the listener’s attention. The music is majestic and harsh, with angular riffs that threaten to crush the listener into a fine paste. Halfway through the song we get treated to a surreal avant-garde section that’s could be off something Dødheimsgard might do. It’s a strong song that plays to all of the band’s strengths as a potent modern black metal act.

While this first track sets the scene for the rest of the record, I should say that each one has its own personality and creative ideas. As the album unfolds the full range of Moonreich’s talents are displayed. This includes post-black metal elements, progressive sensibilities, keen use of emotive melody, and the ability to unleash huge riffs.

The singer’s vocals sound better than ever too. His screamed roar is positively dripping with violence and intensity. His passionate performance is the perfect accompaniment to the music’s considerable presence.

Both musically and vocally, Moonreich’s use of feeling on Amer is beyond that of most of their peers, and frequently across the record you’ll find something stirring or evocative to pay attention to. The ending of the title track is particularly effective, for example. Shortest cut Where We Sink has some very affecting atmospheric mid-paced sections, and these are surrounded by an intensity that’s withering, yet still emotive. Astral Jaws is a feast of riffs and blast beats that has a progressive heart. The closing track – The Cave of Superstition – is the album’s longest, and does a good job of encapsulating the full Moonreich experience into one epic song.

I was not prepared for how good this is; Amer has really impressed. I have enjoyed Moonreich’s past material, but Amer is their strongest yet. Amer is imbued with a potent combination of power, emotion, and atmosphere that’s highly compelling. It’s harsh and aggressive, but also carries within it moments of beauty and worldbuilding that really make a mark.

Moonreich’s latest should not be missed by any fan of modern black metal.

Essential listening.


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