Sometimes, something comes along, and right from the initial stages, it has you hooked, and you know you need to have it in your life. I have several bands, who every time I even get a little teaser that they are in the studio, I’m right there straight from the starting gates. I love being there, at the initial twinges, catching what I can, as soon as I can.
Well, this time, it is with a band, and over the next few months, I believe, they are going to generate a lot of interest indeed, and that band is Black Moon Mother. Even from reading the blurb of who they are comparable with, right down to the style they are being pushed toward, Black Moon Mother really tick all the boxes on paper for me, but the big question is, does the reality match the dream?
Well, YES, YES it does!! Black Moon Mother are a trippy, shoegaze, meets psych rock, meets doom, music lovers wet dream. Their debut full length album, Illusions Under The Sun, takes all of these elements, and conjures up a heady little mix of slow burning goodness, that only gets better and better with each new listen. Already a firm favourite at home now, I don’t think I can eloquently express just how much I love this album, beyond saying that I believe this is going to be in my top five albums of twenty twenty-one, and were only a handful of months in.
Its gratuitous, without being at all overwhelming. It’s understated but infectious, and with a commercial sensibility that should see a very wide audience form around this band. If Emma Ruth Rundle and Chelsea Wolfe level melancholy, and Deftones soundscapes are your bag, them this is going to be for you. There are some sneaky little Windhand moments too, but it’s not as immensely weighed down , but definitely keeps some of the intensity.
On initial listens, it feels somewhat more like its target audience will be less of a metal crowd as its surprisingly charming, and definitely makes replaying it again something to look forward to. It’s never a chore, and is so catchy, that it wouldn’t be the biggest stretch of the imagination to find yourself singing along to certain parts after a few runs through.
Its gratuitous, without being at all overwhelming. It’s understated but infectious, and with a commercial sensibility that should see a very wide audience form around this band…
Opening track Lost In The Maze really sets the scene for those showgazey and ERR comparisons. Its moody and ominous, foreboding, and yet equally emotional. It has a slow drudge yet catches a quirky indie shoegaze vibe too. By comparison, track two, Around The Finger, is dripping in a real eighties and early nineties nostalgia, it’s up tempo, with a lightweight chugging. It picks up on those Deftones vibes, and truly makes it a fun listen, heartwarming, and charming, in equal measure.
High Wings has a proper Sabbathy introduction, heavy, darker, and doomier. Brianne O’Neill’s soft vocal is as ambient as it is moody, it’s both serene and otherworldly. This track really showcases the bands versatility, and the psych proggyness wonderfully offsets the heavier moments beautifully. Again, it really catches on that eighties/nineties nostalgia vibe, and dips up and down emotionally, throughout the whole track.
For me, the two real moments of complete bliss are tracks four and six, Slow Down, and Radiant Sun. The former opens with an ethereal introduction, full of vocal ambience, which is shoegazy, but also very otherworldly at the same time. As it gently breaks in, its feels lighter, like the clouds breaking, and the sun shining through. After the halfway point, this is replaced, and something darker sweeps in. The wailing guitar takes control and leads us off into the darkness for a while, before returning to that otherworldly ambience.
Radiant Sun is a faster paced piece, mid ranged, and chuggy. This track has a real rock sensibility to it, yet its souring electronics give it a far more space age feel. It reminds me of The Gathering’s Liberty Bell track, it swoops and soars, and is completely euphoric in its feel. It’s so powerfully emotive, with its flashes of light, and with its ‘Gathering’ burst, it wins me over completely. Its space-age, meets shoegaze, meets prog powerhouse soundscape leaves me truly captivated. Afterglow instrumentally closes the album, and as it trails off and fades, I can’t help but feel a complete sense of euphoria.
Illusions Under The Sun was not at all what I was expecting it to be, and I’m actually left completely overwhelmed by it all. On paper it had the proposition of being heavier, and slower, with less light, but the reality is far different. I wanted crushing Deftones anthems, with otherworldly Chelsea Wolfe inspired vocal passages, but I wasn’t prepared for this, at all. What I got was the other side of the coin, the moodier and more sombre Deftones, laced with Emma Ruth Rundle overtones.
This album is immense, and for a debut, it’s going to be awesome seeing just where Black Moon Mother go from here…
Scribed by: Lee Beamish