The Moth Gatherer – The Earth is the Sky (Agonia)

Tuesday, 17th November 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

With rumblings ISIS (the band) are gearing up to reform, it looks like post-metal is due for another bloom. Now, this doesn’t mean its current inhabitants aren’t doing quality work; Rosetta are still top-notch, as are Ghost Brigade. Beyond them, it’s the proverbial mixed bag, thus insinuating the style is in need of a new up-and-comer, like Sweden’s The Moth Gatherer. The band’s 2013 album A Brief Celestial Light had its moments, but felt more a tad more derivative than it should have been. Reversing the course, The Moth Gatherer’s sophomore The Earth is the Sky is explosive, riddled with dynamics, and fits the bill for post-metal going forward.

Compositionally, the Swedes clearly are at ease with following post-metal’s predetermined norms of letting the bottom fall out, find the big, pushy, monolithic sections, then rolling out the careful melodies. Such a pattern is developed on the opening “Pale Explosions,” instantly establishing itself as the band’s peak moment (can a band two albums into their career have a “peak” already?). Garnished by a cascading guitar riff-and-chime segment, the song’s resultant crescendo is utterly mammoth and devastating, so much so, that it’s a wonder how the band proceeds from there.

Alas, The Moth Gatherer is able to find solid ground with a traditional bruiser “Attacus Atlas,” which heads toward the Cult of Luna hills; the sound-and-sample oriented “Dyatlov Pass,” and album closer “In Awe Before the Rapture,” a number that serves as the proper bookend to “Pale Explosions,” a number able to jostle itself through via repetition, deadening riffs, and hearty man-roar barks.

The Earth is the Sky should amount to a pivotal moment for The Moth Gatherer, who will probably be hit with the occasional gripe that they’re too much the sum of their influences. That may well be the case at various times, yet the propulsion, depth, and intrigue found within a number of these cuts should serve notice that The Moth Gatherer have arrived.

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