Moss - Cthonic Rites
Aurora Borealis
Funeral Doom, Drone
2 songs (1:06:03)
Release year: 2007
Aurora Borealis
Reviewed by Goat

”I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.”
from The Call Of Cthulhu, by H.P. Lovecraft

Even before you start to play Cthonic Rites, you know there’s something disturbing at work. The cover art, which depicts Lovecraft’s most famous nightmarish beastie, stares out at you with unspeakable loathing and malice, tentacles writhing and twisting, fading into the darkness. Your thoughts will naturally return to the unearthly Thing’s gaze as the hour-plus album plays out, your mind struggling to forget. It’s always unusual, and a little creepy, when bands that use Cthonic subjects, such as British cult Metallers Bal-Sagoth, are enhanced by their subject matter in a way that other bands are not. Call it the immortal power of Lovecraft’s writing, but you could almost believe that Mighty Cthulhu is somehow pleased with this mortal praise. Whatever the explanation, there’s a hypnotic quality to Moss that never becomes dull or boring, despite the fact that this is about as far removed from catchiness as it’s possible to get.

Musically, the band play a harsh strain of Doom, Olly Pearson’s vocals nothing but background growls and screams, drums intermittent, guitar feedback speaking a dead language all of its own. Unusually, there is no bass player in the band, but this doesn’t matter due to guitarist Dom Finbow’s downtuned riffing, which easily fills in the gaps. Produced by Electric Wizard legend Jus Osborn, this is Funeral Doom at its most stripped down. You won’t find any keyboards, female vocals or sudden bursts of Black Metal here; this is all about the slow, sludgy riffs, rising and falling constantly like a sea made of molten tar. The two tracks that make up Cthonic Rites are just over twenty and forty minutes (the latter with fifteen minutes of silence and a hidden track) respectively, making this as much of an endurance test as a musical experience. It’s impossible to choose between them, or even tell the difference for the greater part, but they work together wonderfully.

This is definitely aimed at a very definite type of Doom fan. If you’re one of those few that delight in darkness, that can’t listen to Black Sabbath because they’re just too damn cheerful, then Moss is where you’ll get your fix. Conversely, if you find the likes of Sunn O))) and Boris too slow, too dull, then you’ll be left cold by Cthonic Rites. Although this isn’t the perfect slab of Doom that true acolytes are constantly searching for, this is a monstrous edifice of despair that the band will hopefully improve upon in future years. There’s ultimately a very definite type of person that will like this, and you know exactly who you are.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Moss that we have reviewed:
Moss - Carmilla (Marcilla) / Spectral Visions reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Moss - Sub Templum reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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