Moanaa – Passage (Arachnophobia Records)Monday, 5th September 2016
Moanaa’s first full-length, 2014’s The Descent, was one this scribe stumbled upon while scoping out Bandcamp one afternoon. The blend of post-metal with sludge/doom/groove tendencies was one that more than capably handled the necessary beauty and beast components. Their second full-length, Passage, continues in the same glorious route and sees the band continue to refine their sound.
As was mentioned last time around, one of the most distinct factors about Moanaa are their ability to take the groovy/sludgy riffing with a Gojira or Grorr slant and weave it around tempting and alluring post-metal melodies. If anything, they’ve ramped up some of the contrast to help further refine things on Passage. It’s a compliment to the band that they can toss in the heavier, lumbering riffs to add more grit (particularly in comparison to other like-minded acts) and still maintain a vibe of awe and wonder when they switch over to the more melodically-driven moments. Check out some of the massive riffs that “The Shift” goes into around the 5-minute mark or the floaty atmospherics that “Terra Mater” employs to get a better perspective if you need. One element that also helps this is the diverse vocal offerings of K-vass, who roars, bellows, shouts, or sings his way through the track – an impressive range that seems to fit each mood perfectly. It’s the combination of these factors that allow the band to push past the 10-minute barrier with ease; there’s never a moment that you will feel stretches past its limits.
Those who appreciate the more melodic side of the post-sector but long for a band that can still bring some heavy moments will no doubt appreciate what Moanaa can do. Plenty of atmospheric beauty to be had, which hits all the right marks – it’s just great to hear just an effective use of sludgy riffs to back it up.