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CD Review: Moth Eater - The Thunder God of Monster Island

Posted on August 19, 2010

By: Navjot Kaur Sobti

When you hear the name Moth Eater, don’t think you’re dealing with some neo-hippie Williamsburg-bred indie fare, nor your typical, pseudo-abyss-grown and harvested doom cupcakes. This is a group that’s been born and bred in the bowels of New York, New York, a.k.a., as listed on their myspace – “Beers’ Village – ” a call to inebriation and all things metal, in a city that’s fallen prey to much o’deathcore and crowd-pleasing, watered down excuses for grimy, sticky sludge.

When I flipped on the stereo and got started with the band’s 2010 release – Thunder God of Monster Island – a title strangely evocative of all things Viking, monastic, and folk at once, I was pleasantly allured by the strange instrumentation that opens “Aftermath.” While expecting a sudden splurge of similar wind-instruments to chime in, the duet of guttural vocals and screeching Acid Bath-style injections of agony created a nails against the charcoal friction that built up through raging guitar riffs. There are pockets of slower-paced whispers and tense sound, which remind you to stop gawking, drop that damn I-phone piece of shit, and bang your head.

The lyrics, discernible enough to the naked ear, are alright – immature and bare-bones -and could’ve been written with a bit more of the “f-you, the world, and myself” flavor of such Louisiana legends as EYEHATEGOD and Harvey Milk. “Rockin’ is Ma Business” introduces a bit more of the chalked up, unpolished touches we have been craving from track one, with intervals of sweet solo-work, simple percussion, refreshingly audible bass lines (lords of toolish, uninventive musicians forbid: a metal band that gives their bassist the time of day), and riffs that hit that rock and roll funny bone. Truly, though, about two minutes into the song, it’d be hard not to crack up at the alpha male-vibing vocals: an impression that is flipped off with a sudden change in vox style during the last few seconds of the song.

Perhaps the most interesting quality about the record is its tendency to sprint and break down between slower, trudging doom metal sound – which builds rage, desperation, and filth in the ears of its despicable host behind the speakers – then, back to faster, heavier, almost thrash style guitar parts and guttural vocals that make sure no one’s passing out after that last serving of Jameson. There’s a marked hardcore essence to “When Bruises Leave Scars:” an almost punk energy, which one would believe is incompatible with the slowly stewing nature of doom and sludge that binds together the album like the marrow beneath the fleshy, filthy exterior of fresh kill.

Just when I start to feel like this is a band that takes themselves a bit too seriously, their tracks play off the clichés of southern rock and sludge with sonic nuances, all of which have made me determined to catch the hooligans live and up-close, here in the boroughs of NYC. There’s an appeal to these dudes – an attitude that’s a fresh and glorious wake-up call for those metalheads who know how to dish out the chops, and still have a good time.

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