MOON ORACLE “Muse of the Nightside”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Well, what have we here? Something original and different, instead of another retread of 80’s or 90’s black metal? Yes indeed, and it’s about time. MOON ORACLE is from the “freaked out” branch of the black metal tree. In the end, my interest in “Muse of the Nightside” kind of fades away, but I sure give the band credit for trying to rock the boat here.

You know the typical complaint where bass guitar seems to get short-changed in black metal? Well, MOON ORACLE comes pretty close to overcompensating for this. The bass is the overwhelming be-all and end-all of MOON ORACLE’s music, driving every sound relentlessly forward. And what a rubbery, obese thing the bass is here! Juicy and grooving, with a kind of “swing” to it that is not often heard in the blackened realms. This is heard nowhere better than first song “The Huntress and The Hunted”, which has a cool, swinging groove that’s almost a crazed alternative soundtrack to “The Munsters”, if you can believe it! Unfortunately, this first song is by far the best on show and by the time the last song “The 10th Hour” arrives, the bass has become a meandering, unfocused thing.

Also unorthdox is the drum sound, which is frantic in pace but sounding almost like heavy duty maraccas! It sounds like the drum is being SHOOK instead of struck! In comparison to the oddball bass and drum sound, the guitar is almost shy and much more typically black metal sounding, as are the croaking vocals. There’s some doominess in MOON ORACLE as well as blackness...that’s especially pronounced on the last two tracks.

This album really grabbed my interest with its unique sound...but it couldn’t hold it, because frankly the first 3 tracks are a lot better than the last 3. A long album full of songs in this mode would wear out its welcome pretty fast. But yes, I do give extra points to MOON ORACLE for doing something off the wall in the staid and conservative black metal world…