Thursday, 23 January 2014

Moosataur - ST (album review)

Cover artwork by Adam Burke.
What happens when you cross psych and doom with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons?  Long story short, you get Moosataur.

From the back woods of North Maine and parts of Canada stalks a fabled and unholy creature.  Spoken of only in whispers by lumberjacks between sips of moonshine, the Moosataur has given many a burly man the night terrors.  It is said, he makes the forest his labyrinth.  It should come as no surprise then that the journey to find this ungodly beast should reflect that labyrinthine character, not in terms of winding, complicated routes but in variety of approach.  No two trips into the Moosataur's forest will ever turn out quite the same, but the documenting of these adventures are consistently spellbinding.  This is the story of three intrepid explorers on the hunt for this magnificent, misunderstood, and some say, deadly beast.

The expedition begins.  The sun goes down, the northern lights ripple.  Wistful, melancholic strains of accordion greet the ears to set the mood in a Hollies's "Dear Eloise" kind of way.  Wait ... accordion?  Yeah, it's going to be one of those journeys.  Before things break out in a ferocious polka, a guitar with a raunch-factor of 12 wipes the board clean.  It's all the heavier and raunchier for coming on the heels of the bucolic intro.  The effect is then doubled halfway through when the accordion re-appears and is quickly followed-up with a punkish blast.  This is "Fuzzy Belly", welcoming you into the madcap world of Moosataur, where songs flow into one another, linked by feedback, but no two sound alike.  You listen to "Fuzzy Belly" and think you've found yourself a nice little shoegaze album, then "Blood of the Hunted" blasts into being with shredding guitars and hardcore drums and vocals.  Two songs in and it's a lot to digest already.  We're now in the woods, sifting through droppings, examining tracks.

"We Bare the Mark" is a grungy song, a sound you'd never expect to hear from New England.  At this point it's safe to say a single unifying theme or identity for the band is elusive, much like the creature from which the band takes it's name.  Elusive, but not mythical.  There is a certain something that binds it all together, and there's more to it than simply weirdness for weirdness's sake.  It's the Moosataur.  It's the hunt for the elusive mythical beast that may or may not actually exist.  You have no proof that it does exist, but you have no proof that it doesn't, so what's to stop you from getting out there and looking for it?  Nothing but the limits of your own imagination.  Moosataur the band has no such limits or if they do it hardly matters because they're always pushing and expanding them outwardly, creating their own reality.  Tracking the elusive Moosataur (the creature), the band finds footprints and droppings directly in the path they've been travelling.  It's almost as if ... as if ... no, but that's crazy.  But it could be, that perhaps the creature wants to be found.  And that it only shows itself to those who bare the mark, those who are ready.

And so we reach the end of the expedition, the center of the labyrinth to find ... "Moosataur", a Dio-inspired epic of psychedelic metal.  And it's such a beautiful sight, it almost brings a tear to the eye.  He's the last of his kind, seeking revenge against the loggers of the north.  The Moosataur.  He appeals to the misfit in all of us, as does the band which bears his name and bares the mark.  It all makes so little sense that in the end, it begins to.  The labyrinth, the strangeness, the misfitting all stand for the music itself.  A hearty spirit of exploration and experimentation prevails throughout, the willingness to try different things to see which shoe fits.  Fortunately they all do, and the shoe closet of Moosataur is well stocked, leaving tracks across a vast territory of different fashions.  I look forward to watching for Moosataur tracks in the future, I imagine they will leave hoof prints in a highly irregular pattern.  For now, there's this first outing, which shows more than just promise, it stands on its own.

Highlights include: "Moosataur" and "Fuzzy Belly"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 25:45

From: Ayer, Massachusetts

Genre: Psychedelic, Doom, Stoner, Metal

Reminds me of: Advanced D&D, Ice Dragon

Release Date: December 12, 2013

Moosataur on facebook

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