Review: Blood Moon – Through the Scarlet Veil
Written by The Black Metal Bitch
The best way I can think of to best describe the very first release from the mysterious international band Blood Moon would be to call it “Cult Metal.” The music itself is very black, although usually slower, more melodic and cleaner, but still sinister. Instead of the traditional demon screeches and corpse paint howls the vocal tracks are hymnal, spoken word and chanting. Cultes Des Ghoules and their latest and well received “Covens…or Evil Ways Instead of Love” was a fine example of what I would call “Cult Metal” and I think fans of CDG will probably dig Blood Moon with its heavy occult tones and theatrics. In addition to the music the band remains unknown with no members listed, and from what I can tell the group itself consists of members all over Europe. Arsenestre is a French label so I can only assume at least one member is from France, which isn’t exactly helpful when it comes to solving the puzzle. Of course, the music itself is what matters here and after a few listens I found Through the Scarlet Veil to be a worthwhile listen. It’s definitely different from the genre norms, but is still very much a black metal album.
Opening up the full length is ‘Fires of Manifestation,’ which, like most of the album, is heavy with atmosphere, particularly of the occult variety and the spoken word. Echoed chants of our mystery singer doubled with the raw black metal drum track and eerie, slow but effective guitar playing are dramatic, eerie and strangely beautiful as if channeling ancient evil through ritual practice. I can’t help but compare Blood Moon to Cultes because it borrows that same energy; they’re two separate entities from the same chaotic realm and as the band rises to another wild crescendo, Blood Moon clearly displays their ability to belt out quality old school black metal without putting an emphasis on speed or lightning fast riffs, which is refreshing and worthy of praise for fans of evil music.
‘The Seven-Rayed Star’ is a step up in the tempo using an equal dose of machine gun snare drum and the more traditional black metal guitar sound. It starts at a crawl with droning chants and drum fills before finding its rhythm. I’ll admit, I find myself getting slightly bored with the ominous vocals and aching for the usual screams of terror. I felt the need for something to break up the ambiance, but I remind myself that Through the Scarlet Veil isn’t THAT kind of black metal record, so I settled to take in the music as it is.
The third track, ‘Sacred Flame’ has a very eclectic feel to it; meaty bass lines and some harmonic guitar playing give parts of the song a feeling of old rock and roll and even a taste of doom but all the while maintaining that Satanic and unholy core.
Another notable track is ‘In the Coils of the Serpent,’ which is another prime example of the band’s potential for heaviness and darkness. This one is very black; a very noticeable nod to the early 90’s Norwegian sound, the lyrics bellowed out by some Devil worshiping priest give the track its own identity. This one is darker and more ominous, almost like it’s a religious ceremony than metal record.
‘O Grandest’ carries along in the same vein as the rest with spoken word lyrics setting the pace of the track; it’s dismal and gloriously gloomy just the way I like it.
‘Pslam of the Nameless – Thy Kingdom Come’ is the final track of the album and is more upbeat that the previous tracks but by no means less sinister. Blood Moon wraps up their first full length album strong with a final display of majestic and primordial energy. Harmonic guitar tears through the meat of it, leading a never ending descent into madness as the band drag the listener along mountains of blast beats before ending it all in cymbal crashes as the instruments fade to nothing.
Through the Scarlet Veil is delightfully macabre and rich with abysmal atmosphere. It took me a few test runs to get into, but once I did I must say I did enjoy it. Fans with an open mind who lust for new ideas in the metal world will enjoy this one as well as the fans who can sit back and give the music their full attention. I know I’ve used the word “atmosphere” quite a bit in describing these guys, but it’s simply one of those multidimensional albums with layers upon layers of depth. And while I’ve made the comparison to Cultes Des Ghoules, Blood Moon is no carbon copy and definitely has their own approach to the black metal formula. The production wasn’t perfect and there are moments on the album that lost my attention or felt redundant, but ultimately this one is a solid piece of work that pays homage to a number of influences by staying true and reinterpreting them in a truly unique way. Blood Moon’s Through the Scarlet Veil gets a solid 7/10.