EP Review: Moss Of Moonlight – Winterwheel

“Moonfed this moss, sky-torched our trail a soothspell of caves, at season’s end we seek you for we are all Pagan, children of cinder, eaters of seed, walkers of wheels.”

Release Date: June 21st 2013 by Cascadian Alliance
Tracks: 4
Length: 42 minutes
Genre: Blackened Folk Metal
Previous releases: Debut album ‘Seed’, 2012
Recommended for fans of: Enslaved, Eluveitie, Bathory, Negura Bunget, Vintersorg, Otyg, folk/pagan/medieval themed music

Description: The folk metal duo Moss of Moonlight was formed in 2010 and consists of Cavan Wagner and Jenn Grunigen. ‘Winterwheel’ is their second release. It’s an EP, but from its length you could almost say it’s a full album.

The first track, called ‘Gaet’ (goat in old English) starts with a strange call from some kind of animal (a deer maybe?), sets the tone for this nature-oriented album. It’s almost twelve minutes long and is quite folk-y with chanting shaman-like vocals in the middle, adding an unexpected, mysterious and slightly frightening feeling to the song. After that it picks up and continues with some extremely beautiful guitars, both electric and acoustic in different layers as well as a flute melody in the background. There are both raspy, male vocals and clean female vocals that complement each other well.

The second track, ‘Eole’ (meaning elk) starts off slow and dreamy with a hypnotizing tribal drum beat together with male and female vocals. The first half has a dark and threatening tone to it, but soon lots of various folk instruments enter the mix and the mood lightens. There’s some really nice singing on this track that drives the music forward and you don’t even notice it’s over ten minutes long. The flute at the end is the icing on the cake!

In the third track, ‘Catte’ (meaning cat) there are mainly female vocals, sung in a dark, sincere tone, very fitting to the heavy music. It emphasizes the ritualistic atmosphere and the folk elements seem to flow seamlessly in and out of the black metal foundation that makes up the album. In the middle you can hear the noises from what I think is a growling and shrieking large cat; that adds a really cool effect. Here you can also find a more traditional heavy metal influence in the electric guitar melodies which are nicely put on top of the many layers of music.

Hraefne’ (meaning raven), the final track, is a very nice ending to this EP. You can feel that the ritual is close to its end from the overall relaxed and positive feeling in their singing. It contains only singing and no music, except from a humming sound and a distant beating drum.

Winterwheel_bandphotoJenn Grunigen says: “Winterwheel is a ritual put to song. It embraces the turning of the seasons, and the necessary, vicious loop of birth and death. Each song delves into the nature of a different Anglo Saxon god or goddess, and is steeped in the old, cyclic roads of our Pagan ancestors, as well as the very language of the Anglo Saxons. With this wisdom and craft, we made new rites–in other words, Winterwheel, this sacrifice to the gods, the cosmos. With each play, the ritual is brought to life once more, and anyone willing to listen is a participant in the offering.”

Strong points: Excellent songwriting and depth, varied music, great use of different instruments like flutes, bells, mouth harp and various percussive instruments. Great compositions and good track length. It’s serious and honest, but never depressive or overly sorrowful. Fantastic vocals all over.

Weak points: It ended too quickly.

Conclusion: This album is unlike anything I’ve heard before; it really managed to bring out that feeling of Mother Earth and nature. It feels very genuine. The music has this raw, earthy, natural feeling to it that is rare to find, especially on albums with crisp production like this one. There is so much to listen to here; it really took me by surprise and had me completely drawn in already from the first time I put it on. It’s very different, but absolutely beautiful and enchanting!




Stream the EP below:


About Irmelinis

A friend told me that I was delusional. I almost fell off my unicorn.

Posted on July 25, 2013, in Album Reviews, Tales From Bandcamp & Full Album Streams and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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