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Bad Production, Good Music - 72%

PutridWind, July 6th, 2008

If you know Moonblood, then you know that the sound quality on their albums can be terrible at times. By Moonblood standards this album has quite standard production, not abnormally bad or good, though the average metal fan will probably be immediately be put off by the production and the mixing of instruments. The problem with Moonblood is that all their releases are either tapes or vinyl, meaning almost everyone has rips of these formats (the originals are extremely hard to find anywhere). The ripping process makes the poor sound quality even more enhanced. I should also mention, for anyone interested in this band and searching them on eBay, *do not buy compact disc format releases of Moonblood, they are bootlegs*.

That being said, The Winter Falls Over The Land seems to be one of the more commonly listened to Moonblood releases. I would like to point out that one should not start with this bands rehearsal tapes, but rather with the two full lengths. The reason being that Moonbloods earlier years are marked by extremely amateur sounding recording quality. This release is almost definitely recorded in a home studio, and not mixed or mastered at all. The vocals are very high in the mix, guitars are extremely grainy and trebly, and drums sound pretty dull and flat, their tone is pretty well described as "dead". bass is completely inaudible, and keyboards can be heard at times, and when they are used it is not difficult to hear them in the mix.

So, as you might guess this album doesn't sound very professional, since there is also a sloppy sound to the drums and guitars (which I personally don't mind, since the music sounds more organic and less strict than if it was recorded perfectly on time or as MIDI). Many will however dislike these qualities, so if bad production turns you off, then don't bother reading the rest of the review, I can assure you that you'll be bored by this, or have an earache.

So why listen to this? Mainly because there are some great parts that don't really come to their full potential. The use of synth in Nightly Mass is a great touch, and there are some great arpeggio guitar riffs (a Moonblood trademark style). Vocals are also pretty well performed, because even while they are muffled they have an aggressive edge to them and fit nicely into the "dirty" production of this tape. The drumming is also not bad, even though the snare pretty much overpowers the cymbals, toms, and bass drum. There are plenty of breaks, not a lot of repetition (which would definitely become monotonous). By that I mean that one riff isn't repeated too many times in a row, though riffs often reappear numerous times in songs.

Assuming you can handle the production, you can actually somewhat appreciate the general sound too. it sounds distant and remote, which somehow fits with the band, since there isn't really much known about the members, lyrics, and even how many releases the band out before breaking up in 2000. The music reminds of the old days when bands like Azhubham Haani were still active and recording their first demos at home. This is definitely rooted in the late 80s/early 90s sound, though the thrashy elements are all but gone, and have been replaced with a more rudimentary guitar style. The release itself isn't too long, clocking in at half an hour this is easy to listen to wholly, you don't have to sit through an hour of terrible produced monotous music, there is plenty enough variation to keep you listening through the whole CD. You might already be familiar with one of the songs, The Gates of Eternity, covered by Nargaroth on Black Metal Ist Krieg.

"The GATES...of...ETERNITY are open!!!!" - 98%

Tiamat, July 23rd, 2004

This demo is my favourite after Blut und Krieg and would have gone on to be my all-time favourite (and accessible) Moonblood release if it weren't for the length. But more on that later.

The vocals are top-notch and 100% Gaamalzagoth. The instruments, handled by Occulta Mors sound good too. Especially the dums and bass.
Here's a quick rundown on the jewels on this track.

The Intro is probably some choir like keyboards. I'm not too sure. Anyway its nothing much.
Nightly Mass is 7 minutes and 40 seonds of headbanging frenzy. A great opener and a sign of more things to come.
The Gates of Eternity features more headbanging. This song has very addictive riffs. and I just love singing the first line of the song "The Gates of Eternity are open!" while repeating the bass in my head over and over.
The next 2 songs A Land Where the Sky is Black and In the Shadow of the Inverted Crucifix are dominated by blastbeats but nevertheless both songs are really good.
The title track The Winter Falls Over the Land is followed by a short outro which rounds up the album nicely.

But what suprised me most is the production which has to be heard to be believed. This demo sounds raw yet the instruments can be heard clearly. Simply amazing.
My only problem with this demo is that the 3rd and 4th track should have changed places as it would have made the album sound more varied. Another problem is the length but this is a demo so I won't bitch on the length.

Overall an excellent BM demo by an elite underground band that certainly deserves more attention.

Marred somewhat by the production - 88%

webermg, May 18th, 2003

Now normally, I wouldn't care about bad production with black metal, but the type of music that is on this demo really needs better production. It's not near as bad as Nosferatu, though, so I guess I should be happy.

As it goes, this demo contains some excellent black metal. All of the songs are good, and none get boring like so much other black metal out there. Blastbeats are used sparingly (thank god), and the guitars are minimalist while still managing to sound epic, which is no small feat.

One thing that surprised me was the vocals, which were actually rather understandable. The lyrics are silly, but what can you really expect? There wasn't any overtly NS crap though, which is good.

It starts off with a short synth instrumental, and then kicks into high gear with "Nightly Mass", an almost 8 minute song that keeps your attention throughout its whole length. Next is "The Gates of Eternity", another kickass song, that features some excellent riffs. "A Land Where the Sky is Black" is very atmospheric, and actually sounds like winter, which probably makes no sense. "In the Shadow of the Inverted Crucifix" is probably my least favorite song on here, yet it is still pretty damn good.

After that comes the title track, which is another great song, and the last actual song. The opening of it screams "epic", and the rest of the song doesn't disappoint. The outro is a short choir thing which ends the whole experience perfectly.

I would recommend that any fans of black metal hear this any way they can.