Dead Mother Moon
Review by Michael on January 22, 2024.
What if In Flames hadn't decided to go the bright, cheerful pussy way after “The Jester Race” (which was already a huge disappointment in comparison to the two previous releases) but went on with raw, melodic and aggressive melo-death? I guess they might have sounded like what the Americans from Upon Stone deliver to us with their debut album Dead Mother Moon.
The album kicks ass from the start and sounds very archaic and raw because of the very harsh production. And this is what makes it so remarkable in my ears because the band doesn't want to please anyone with that but (at least this is my assumption) has more fun doing some kind of tribute to the good old times back in the 90s. So, messing up some old In Flames riffs and mixing it with some blackish tunes is a very good approach to get my attention. The vocals especially sound very blackened and contain a lot of hatred and anger. The drums sound punchy and pummeling and often seem to be a counterpoint to the highly melodic approach like in the opener 'Dead Mother Moon'. Although there are some really almost brazenly In Flames riff rip-offs in some of the songs (check the opening riff in 'Paradise Failed') the band sounds very fresh and true, if you get what I mean. That is the reason why I can easily forgive them such copycat stunt. Now, about those melodies. There are a lot of melodic parts (especially in the guitar work) indeed which really don't need to get behind any other Gothenburg melo-death band back in the mid-90's. The album really flows which makes it fun to listen to and is catchy from the beginning to the end. And just like their role-models the Americans also have a little atmospheric instrumental part named 'Nocturnalism' on Dead Mother Moon. Though not really spreading such an intense atmosphere like “Everlost” on “Lunar Strain” it nevertheless has some meditative character to calm down a little bit before the next drum and riff attack is hammering down at you with a fantastic song called 'To Seek And Follow The Call Of Lions'. This is a highly diverse song alternating fast and slow parts with great guitar solo where also some older At The Gates (in prior the great “Terminal Spirit Disease” and “Slaughter Of The Soul”) is shimmering through. It happens not only in this song but in many others – it just takes some time to find them out.
But not all is gold on Dead Mother Moon. Sometimes the songs sound a little bit uninspired, like the band is looking for a certain formula and you are waiting for the moment where it really starts. 'The Lantern' is such a searching song that doesn't convince fully but hey, this is just the debut and for a debut this is a really good one. Only the Misfits cover song 'Dig Up Her Bones' is somehow wrong here. Maybe something more metal-like would fit better on this record, or no cover song at all. Let's see what the future brings for Upon Stone – I only hope they won't get blinded by modern In Flames or other degenerated melo-death bands that once were great. Upon Stone – make melo-death great again!!!
Rating: 8 out of 10539