"Deeply From The Earth"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Before listening to one note of this album, I was already hugely impressed by the beautiful cover image: the rusting hulk of a once-great metal ship embedded in beach sand at low tide, with waves rushing in and a dark and angry sky in the background. The beauty and mysterious power of this image alone already gives Moonloop extra points in my book.

But that doesn't mean squat if the music within doesn't match up with it. What's the verdict there? Well, there's no escaping the fact that Moonloop does not have an original sound at all..."Deeply From The Earth" is a meticulous cloning of mid-period Opeth, around the time of "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". There's just no way to avoid this conclusion, as virtually every note here sounds like it was created in slavish worship of the Swedish prog-death giants. But if you can overlook this ghoulish imitation and listen to the songs themselves, you'll find Moonloop are good composers and since Opeth has really dropped the ball now that Mikael Akerfeldt has gone on a total bellbottoms and patchouli trip, maybe these guys come along at just the right time.

Moonloop has the heaviness that Opeth has lost but they also retain proggy, semi-acoustic melody. The vocals are heavy on the death grunts but the cleans are not ignored nor are they unpleasant to listen to. If you miss the wandering, pastoral heaviness of "Blackwater Park", "Deeply From The Earth" will be a soothing balm. With the mid-album trio of "A Life Divided", "Fading Faces" and the enchanting "Strombus", these Spaniards rival the band that has given them so much inspiration. Only on final track "Atlantis Rising" do they grate...the song is too long, dissonant and pretentious.

I can't ignore the fact that Moonloop is a "clone" band, but at least they are clones that sometimes match the best of their "donor" band.