Moontowers is a relatively new heavy metal band that formed in 2017. While the project counts with musicians from a whole plethora of backgrounds (Blueside, Secutor, Metal Inquisitor), arguably the most famous addition is guitarist Kuschke, known to many as Infernal from Black/Thrash act Desaster. While Desaster are a band firmly on the extreme metal spectrum, their use of melody has always shown an affinity and reverence for 80s Heavy Metal.
Musically, Moontowers straddle the line between 80s traditional metal like Manowar (Sign of the Hammer) and epic doom ala Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus. The guitar tone carries with it a mournful tone, evoking an imagery of a field after battle. This is where Infernal’s influence particularly shines through, as many of these tracks wouldn’t feel out of place as Desaster outros. As any fan of epic doom should know, a commanding vocal delivery is imperative to effectively convey the feeling of sorrow and urgency present in the music. In this respect, vocalist Dommermuth does it justice. Drawing from his experience in blues rock act Blueside, his singing is grave yet harmonious and with good intonation. In contrast to most epic doom singers, Dommermuth has a graver and lower tone that gives it a “manly” touch – not too different from the aforementioned Manowar or even modern acts like Wrathblade or Ironsword. He still manages to pack a good harmonious touch to his vocals, recalling Messiah.
As mentioned previously, the band doesn’t stick to one particular strain of 80s metal. The album opens with “Fear the White Hand”, a straightforward fast-paced number that deals with the usual tropes – war, battle and glory to make it short. It doesn’t take long for the record to dive into epic doom territory, with “Lake of the Dead” giving us a first taste by taking the tempo down a notch. The constant shifts between classic heavy metal and doom help keep the record dynamic and occasionally both merge together, such as in the track “Never Again”. The track functions as an ebb and flow song, where the heavy metal and epic doom elements merge together in a seamless manner – acoustic intros, fast percussion, whispered and commanding vocals all coming into one. Something which I haven’t mentioned yet is the production job, which is clear enough to give us a good listen to all the individual elements taking place (bass, drumming, etc) but sometimes gives the guitar a somewhat loud mix.
If there is a criticism that can be levied at Moontowers, length would be at the forefront. The albums errs on the longer side and sometimes feels a bit inconsistent quality wise – there are plenty of strong songs, but some feel too stretched out or not as tightly written. In some respects, this album sometimes feels like a collection of songs these band members have done over a stretch of years. All of the musicians on this record are talented, but just need more time to hone their craft in unison. Nonetheless, as a debut, Crimson Harvest is a commendable effort that shows a lot of promise. While it is likely just considered a side project by its participants, let’s hope this collaboration yields more releases in the near future.
Favorite track: Never Again