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Moss > Cthonic Rites > Reviews
Moss - Cthonic Rites

Can you get any slower??? - 60%

Briman72, May 11th, 2021

Well here we go again with some extremely slow doom and gloom from England's Moss. I'll make this review short and sweet folks....this is more nauseating putrid slower than shit doom once again. 2 songs in 66 minutes... what did you expect? Shorter songs? No way man. Nothing much had changed from Moss's other releases from the 2000s. The only thing that is some what different is the production. Whoever produced this wanted the guitars mixed way loud and ridiculous because it sounds like they turned it up to 10 at full blast. The feedback between each riff is loud too I'm wondering how loud this must have been in the studio.

Like I said in my other reviews on these guys...these songs are sick and overpowering with the slowness but again way too long. "The Gate" clocks in at 44 minutes...totally unnecessary. If both of these songs had been 10 to 13 minutes it would have been enough. Bands like Cathedral and Winter and Grief had long songs but knew how to keep it in that 8 to 11 minute mark which I feel works for alot of doom metal. I guess bands like Moss and Bunkur tried to be so extreme and write songs that purposely were so long and droned out that's really testing the patience of metal fans.

The riffs are simple but they are powerful as they lay on the feedback in between most of the time. No solos no quiet sections just riffs and bashing cymbals. Moss were a good extreme doom band but could've been amazing had they shortened the longer songs simple as that. The vocals are good very strong black metal raspy type of screams...very tortured sounding as if he's in pain and agony. I always thought the vocals were good throughout their albums...just wish they would've learned to condense their songs down to a reasonable length. Like I said as much as i enjoy longer songs there's a time when you don't have to drag it out beyond 30 minutes. I think if there had been different parts to the epic songs with sections that probably might have been able to carry through for 30 or 40 minutes but that's not the case here. Just hanging on one or two riffs for both of these songs and just like their other lp "Sub Templum" when they had 2 songs that were 20 to 40 minutes on each one. A lot of people would be bored so easily trying to get through these songs even if you're a doom enthusiast it'll severely test your endurance to sit though them. You'll end up fast forwarding through the songs...I know I've done it. That's not good when you have to do that in a long song.

Despite that flaw, I respected this band and thought they were good. I would like to see them reunite in the future though I would hope it would be a return to this style but they could learn to trim the songs to a reasonable length. That would work for them I think.

not extreme doom again, fuck - 25%

Noktorn, December 31st, 2010

It's really hard to believe that at one point this shit was novel, but it's true! No, for real, there was a time in the history of extreme metal where extreme doom like this was something new and fascinating, and a lot of people were convinced it was going to be the future of funeral doom and would change the genre as we know it. Of course it petered out into a repetitive mess of self-parody and scene incest, but for a moment it looked like it would be something, and Moss was near the top of the heap, just under compatriots like Wormphlegm and Bunkur in importance. And yes, it's pretty bad.

It should be immediately apparent to anyone familiar with my reviews that I'm not afraid of bleak, oppressive, impossibly slow, mostly tuneless music- I dig Wormphlegm and Monarch and other members of the same 'hit a chord and growl' scene. Moss, however, rides much more heavily on the idea of their music than the content itself. The track listing of 'Cthonic Rites' should tell the whole story: two tracks, 66 minutes and 6 seconds long (for added spookiness). Riffs: one, I guess? Maybe another I didn't notice? Sum of musical ideas? Zero, most definitely.

Moss plods along, excruciatingly slowly, smashing out the same handful of slow death metal riffs over the course of a pair of inordinately long tracks while drums very slowly play rock beats underneath them and Olly Pearson screams his lungs out. Now here's a quick question for those at home keeping score: how many other bands from the extreme doom scene could you use the previous line to describe and it would still be completely accurate? More than a few, and this is problematic because Moss, like many similar bands, does nothing to differentiate themselves from the pack. Rigor Sardonicus has its weird production quality, Black Bile has its more ambient and atmospheric take on the genre, even Paganus has its perplexing sense of rhythm, but Moss has none of those. The album just sits in place.

A lot of people talk about the atmosphere that Moss cultivates, but I notice a total absence of any sort of atmosphere that couldn't be generated by anyone else mimicking the same style. There is atmosphere, but the atmosphere is that of 'atmosphere', that same one that we've heard a thousand times before that owes itself to ringing feedback, screaming, and excessive distortion. There's no particular songwriting to notice; all the riffs feature three or four chords, hanging in full note configurations over unchanging drum beats, and even the tortured vocals seem tortured in a remarkably generic and unsatisfying way.

Beyond that, is there a difference between the two tracks? I'd be hard pressed to spot one, as they appear to use the same basic melodies and structure (then again, identifying a structure in music this slow and aimless is something of a fool's errand), so what was the purpose of splitting them up? Moreover, what's the purpose of putting them on CD when a description of the music tells you absolutely everything you need to know about it? There's just nothing here, no particular content, no idea being advanced, nothing but the same rehashing of extreme doom tropes that were played out ten minutes after they were initially invented.

I guess the nail in the coffin is that this particular style of extreme doom is something that all the other extreme doom bands gave up. Most of the extreme doom bands played this sort of incredibly droning endurance test doom on their first demo but rapidly split into other directions with more distinct styles; basically the only other one still doing this is Monarch, who are superior because they have more textural exploration and variation between tracks than Moss, so where does this leave the British collective? No where, really, but to gather dust in the cutout bin with Funeralium and fifty Comaworx-affiliated projects that never got off the ground.

I'm sure that many of you will find the above descriptions simply wonderful and will eagerly seek out this disc as a result, but I assure you that when Moss does it, it's just excruciatingly boring and lacking in creativity. It's hard to get through due to length and impracticality, not because it's so extreme. I haven't heard anything from these guys after this album; maybe they picked up a new style on the following full-length, but I doubt it. Even if you absolutely love the extreme doom scene from the mid-'00s, I'd still recommend you avoid this one; it offers nothing but disappointment.

Apocalyptic Doom - 80%

Torwilligous, February 16th, 2006

It is difficult to imagine an album more extreme and horrific than Cthonic Rites by Moss. Deconstructed to the point where it barely resembles music, the Moss assault resembles nothing so much as the anguished death throes of a man cut in two and left to die. Musicianship does not exist per se; the riffs are rudimentary in their heaviness, the space left by the endless drone of hyper-distorted, feedback heavy guitar being filled by muffled, crashing drum fills and screams of soul-rending anguish.

This album is not about great solo's, or tunes that you can hum and dance and party to. This is about a thing essential to any good Doom band: atmosphere. With merely a guitar, drum kit and voice these men succeed in creating an ambience so bleak and nihilistic in its skull-smashing heaviness that it can simply transport you to another plane of existence; make no bones about it, Moss is great.

By stripping down the music in this way Moss dodge all real criticism; you will either love this or think it is appallingly boring. Yes, it is simple; yes, it is repetitive. These are also the things which create such a tooth-rattling peice of pure sonic evil. This is stuff that Limp Bizkit fans run from in terror, and is recommended to all those who like Doom.