Today, black metal is a genre which comprises of many a sub-style, from atmospheric to folk, cosmic and beyond – and many bands are content to stick within their four walls. However, sometimes there comes a group who refuse to stick to such genre tropes, and act upon them as more of a challenge to break the box others confine themselves to. Mo'ynoq, with their unforgiving approach, are one such band, displaying contradictory twangs of traditional and progressive black metal. Their upcoming release, Dreaming in a Dead Language, is no exception.
Unafraid to hurl relentless shrieks and a variety of styles towards your ears, Mo'ynoq demonstrate their bountiful musical palette with the opening track, “Empyreal Decay”. The first salvo is a more traditional black metal approach and piercing wails, with a wall of thick riffs immediately hitting, before time signatures abruptly change and Mo'ynoq’s more progressive and avant-garde side rears its head. This track alone demonstrates that the black metal quartet are not just here to offer a violent barrage of typical black metal, they’re here to stalk into a twisted portal of claustrophobia, fear, and violence with unexpected changes in sound at every turn.
These unexpected changes rear their heads across all of the tracks – from the genre-bending “Carve My Name” to the damning piano interlude presented in “Doomed To Endure” halfway through, which allows a breather of sorts from black metal and is more reminiscent of a Fleshgod Apocalypse record. The trio’s painful-sounding vocals throughout the record are an essential component to the madness, highlights of which can be found in “The Collector” and “Witness to the Abyss”. The former track brings the aforementioned feelings of fear to the forefront, aided by tortured low growls and frantic drumming.
Tread carefully on “These Once Tranquil Grounds”...
Even though Dreaming in a Dead Language finishes - as it starts – with a more conventional style in “Buried by Regret”, even that is subverted with an uncharacteristically melodic solo to tie the album finale off. What is special about Mo'ynoq is how much attention and time they have clearly invested, out of both passion and professionalism, to deliver a record which exquisitely brings a collective of black metal’s history.
With such diversity and swaying from sound to sound, however, there comes a price. It becomes somewhat difficult to focus on specific aspects of this album, and instead, they blend together to create a wall of sound which dampens its impact. Black metal is by no means easily accessible nor particularly transparent in its styles, but there is a certain amount of structural and stylistic changes one can explore feasibly in order for a track to have a particular “hook”.
Mo'ynoq have pushed the boat out with Dreaming in a Dead Language , but perhaps a little too far in places. While each component of the tracks is solid and impressive, it can get a bit much in some places. One can’t help but feel the album would be a little more digestible if it were to have a more coherent flow or calmer sections to allow time for mental regrouping. However, with each spin of the record, these quirks and initial confusions become clearer and allow you to fully understand what Mo'ynoq have set out to achieve.
Beginning with the single “The Collector”, here’s your chance to stream the full album.
Dreaming in a Dead Languageis a solid record, and a smorgasbord to those accustomed to this kind of black, or generally extreme, metal. For those enthusiasts willing to delve and understand the album’s complexities, there is a well-earned reward at the end. It’s a maze of sound, which only begins to fully make sense and truly showcase the band’s talent with multiple listens. As the group continue to hone their sound, they’re sure to become one to watch.
Dreaming in a Dead Language Track Listing:
01. Empyreal Decay
02. The Collector
03. These Once Tranquil Grounds
04. Doomed to Endure
05. Carve My Name
06. Witness to the Abyss
07. Buried by Regret
Run Time: 36:54 Release Date: January 11, 2019 Record Label: Self-released