(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by North Carolina’s Mo’ynoq, which was released on January 11th.)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… but precisely what it is that separates a “Good” album from a truly “Great” one isn’t always clear. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, an instinctive response which tells you that this… this is something really worth shouting about.
If you’re been paying attention then you’ll quickly realise that this is exactly the same intro spiel I used for my recent review of the new Barshasketh album, recycled here with good reason.
Because not only have I frequently seen the two records compared, contrasted, and (occasionally) pitted against one another in single combat, but they also happen to quite concisely demonstrate just how razor-thin the line between being a “Good” album and a truly “Great” one really is.
For the most part Dreaming in a Dead Language is the audio equivalent of standing in front of an open blast furnace, in the middle of a hurricane, wearing only your socks. It really is that intense.
The vocals in particular roar out of the speakers like a screaming wind made of acid and knives, while the guitars seethe and churn in a roiling vortex of raging fury and feverish dissonance, aided and abetted by some surprisingly intricate and expressive bass work.
Not only that, but the use of melody on tracks like “The Collector”, the unexpectedly riff-fuelled and shred-tastic “These Once Tranquil Grounds”, and cathartic closer “Buried By Regret” (arguably the record’s most outstanding songs, especially the latter number) only serves to enhance the blistering intensity of the material, sharpening the band’s edge without dulling their impact one iota.
The sheer intensity of the band’s delivery does have its downside, however, as there are occasions – not frequent, but notable all the same – where the “everything turned up to eleven” approach induces a little bit of listener fatigue, and this, combined with the nagging sensation that the band are spinning their distorted wheels every now and then, means that there are times when a moment’s inattention can lead you to lose your grip on the thread of the song, leading to a few awkward moments while you wait for your chance to jump back in.
As I intimated at the beginning, however, your response to, or perception of, these perceived flaws will likely dictate whether you rate this album as truly “Great” or simply as very, very good.
But the fact remains that, wherever you stand on this question, Dreaming in a Dead Language is one heck of an impressive statement from a band who look to have a very bright/black future ahead of them.