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Horrible Night

Rise Above (2013)
Rating: 5/10

Another bunch of doom mongers from Lee Dorrian’s Rise Above roster. Horrible Night is the first Moss studio record for some five years, following on from their cloggy second opus Sub Templum (2008).

The soggy UK trio of Olly Pearson (vocals), Dominic Finbow (guitar) and Chris Chantler (drums) are very much part of the current slow motion doom brigade and since forming in 2000 have made quite a reputation for themselves. Alongside Electric Wizard and countless others, Moss have become masters at boring me to death with what some fans like to call “stoner metal”.

Personally, I see, nor hear any highs on this squalid opus which lumbers from its soiled tomb like some bloated maggot that for too long has feasted on flesh-laced silt. “Turn on, tune in and drop out,” a friend told me before I slapped this platter on, but relaxing was the last thing on my mind. Moss’ third opus lives up to its title in the sense that it oozes like the slowest mist, and lumbers as if it were a vehicle controlled by a horde of the undead.

Moss have shifted style ever so slightly, rejecting the earlier deathlier groans for a clearer vocal, but it’s still as slow as hell; not once do these guys opt for pace. This style of drone music really does baffle me, the doom genre seemingly saturated by two sorts of bands; those intent on ripping off Black Sabbath, and those possessed to churn out something akin to primitive plod.

The opening title track goes absolutely nowhere – Pearson’s vocals the only respite from the torturous groans of the guitar and concrete slabs which the band like to call drums, which have the subtlety of a brick being dropped from the sky.

‘Bleeding Years’ and ‘Dark Lady’ skulk by leaving me wondering just what drug you’d have to take to appreciate such arduous structures. Clearly these guys have no need for haste in life and I’m imagining that a trip to the supermarket would surely see the trio adorned in heavyweight chainmail accompanied by ball and chain. Sure, this is heavy stuff, but it borders on the sleepy to be honest.

‘Dreams From The Depths’ provides a welcome respite from the drone, although it’s merely an atmospheric piece of tip-toe acoustic and distant cosmic rumble, which leads us to the sludge of ‘Coral Of Chaos’, another fuzzed out slow worm of a track that almost writhes to the point of standstill, as Pearson mournfully wails over the dinosaur plod of the drums and bleak guitars.

The same could also be said for the closing track ‘I Saw Them That Night’, which labours to the point of snooze, and again I’m left scratching my head, wondering how so many people can find such a dull affair so atmospheric and absorbing.

Clearly bands like this set out to hypnotise with their brand of doom, but whereas older bands such as Winter and Sevenchurch provided bleak insights on an interesting scale, acts such as Moss really do bore. I guess I just don’t get it, and thank goodness for that.

Neil Arnold

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