Moonlyght - Progressive Darkness
Escapi Music
Progressive Melodic Death Metal
7 songs (55:20)
Release year: 2004
Escapi Music
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

A re-release of the Canadian band's 2002 debut album, it won't take long to realise that Progressive Darkness is a talented debut indeed. Mixing together all sorts of extreme metal, Moonlyght play a hybrid style that throws pretty much everything into the mix. There's melodic Black Metal, there's old-school Melodic Death, there's Power, Folk and Prog, and it's a credit to the band that their lengthy songs (mostly seven or eight minutes here, although there's an eleven-minuter as well) don't feel like random hodgepodges but actually work as pieces of music. Generally the music is melodic and prog-touched, so you don't spend all of the nearly-an-hour-long running time headbanging, but it's not a bad thing, as there's more than enough to keep your attention. There's no easy way to sum their sound up; think Dark Tranquillity in the Gallery era if they joined up with Borknagar - lead snarler S├ębastien 'Roby' Robitaille has something of the Stanne about him, and the Folk/Prog melodies are distinctly Norsk in origin.

I've been struggling to think of something negative to say about this, really, and all I can manage is some of the male clean vocals aren't quite as good as they could be. There's very little to criticise in the playing, guitars and acoustic instruments clashing with generally excellent results, and the songwriting is pretty good, too, although not completely without fault. Female vocals are a nice touch on singalong opener Fantasy, and the Kiuas-like crunch that kicks The Sceptic Traveller off will see plenty of necks being exercised ferociously - the proggy turn that the track takes afterwards is a nice contrast. Highlights are aplenty: Ride On Ice Storms has a nice flute section, and The Autumn's Freezing Harmony gets enjoyably melancholic and has great usage of an accordion.

It's nearly impossible not to enjoy Progressive Darkness, but I never found myself loving it. As good as some of the longer tracks are, it's hard not to think that a couple - A Tale From A Fantastic Kingdom, for example - wouldn't have been improved were they cut into two and shortened, as in their current form they feel a little like two tracks pasted together. It says a lot that one of the shortest songs here, the four-minute From Honour To Nothingness, is one of the album's best tracks, something the band clearly recognised from the more even lengths shown on 2008's Shining album. By the time that the eleven minute title track came around things were feeling a little repetitive, but if you enjoy this kind of thing then doubtless you'll love the extra fifteen minutes above and beyond the typical running length. It's a pity that Moonlyght would split with just two albums to their name; given more time they could have made a real masterpiece. For what it is, Progressive Darkness is still more than worth the time of the discerning Melodic Deathhead.

Killing Songs :
Fantasy, The Sceptic Traveller, The Autumn's Freezing Harmony, From Honour To Nothingness
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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