Moss - Horrible Night (4 stars)

Moss - Horrible Night

Riff-based, melodic material from unreconstructed stoner metal band

(Rise Above Records)

Regarded as one of the starkest and most suffocating English doom bands of the last ten years, the return of Southampton’s Moss is another step into the void. Horrible Night sees them distance themselves from their guttural and drone metal roots into far more riff-based, melodic matter, akin to Saint Vitus or early Sabbath – whilst still yielding to the same swamp-like death fuzz of their noisier beginnings. It marks a deliberate departure from the crop of Sunn O))) plagiarists into a more organic metal backbone which seems to have been lost in recent years.

Opener and title track, ‘Horrible Night’ arouses the spirit of classic doom metal and New Wave of British heavy metal, but also drops in screeching wails from vocalist Olly Pearson which sounds equal parts Ozzy and Khanate. It’s a nice cohesion of old and new wantonness which seems to be a bleak retrogression of sorts.

Other highlights include ‘Dark Lady’ with an utterly snarling riff parallel to Tony Iommi on elephant tranquilizers, along with their closing opus ‘I Saw Them that Night’ which slogs you through a Kenneth Anger-esque vortex of satanic smoke and psychedelic transitions.

As with label partners and smoking buddies, Electric Wizard, Moss aren’t attempting anything progressive within the realms of this stoner framework. But given the very nature of their recent direction and retro-aesthetic, it would seem preposterous to attempt much of a modern twist or angle when their concoction of riffs, drugs and volume is entirely effective in its own context. A European and UK tour is scheduled for April and May and given Moss’ more structured approach to these songs, it seems like a rare and interesting transition to catch the trio in the flesh.

Moss "Horrible Nights" (OFFICIAL)

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