Milwaukee denizens Lost Tribes of the Moon purvey a thoughtful brand of quasi-metal that, though it could easily be absorbed by the cover-all description ‘doom’ actually goes way further than that term might suggest.
On their self-titled debut the band sweep across the metal landscape, mastering the full gamut of styles as they go about their business, from wistful folk to full-throttle heavy metal thunder. This would probably not be possible were it not for the elastic throat of vocalist Janine Rohde (she’s the singer in an Iron Maiden tribute band!), who would appear to be able to sing just about anything with ease.
The album opens with an acoustic soundscape – a bit Pink Floydish thanks to Rohde’s otherworldly screams, buried a long way back in the mix – before full blooded riffs herald the album’s ‘proper’ entrance. However this doesn’t last long, setting a precedent for the rest of the album as the band chop and change between styles and tempos at the drop of a hat. The track, Wych Elm, is the first of three set-piece epics that form the major part of the album, twisting it’s serpentine way through a series of movements yet retaining a smooth cohesion that means you never get the sense the band are changing things up just for the sake of it.
The second main piece, Revenant, again starts slowly, the band creating a stark atmosphere before Jon Liedtke lurches into an elephantine riff backed by some solid rhythmic heft courtesy of drummer Jeremiah Messner and his bass playing pal Jacob Muchin. Rohde’s powerful performance here is slightly redolent of the recently-departed and much-missed Jill Janus; however I have to say I far prefer Lost Tribes of the Moon’s music to that of Huntress! Liedtke plays some fine lead on this track, displaying a fluid, almost Murrayesque style.
The final piece of the band’s metal triptych, the eponymous title track, sees the band reinforcing the musical themes already introduced earlier in the album. This is probably the band at it’s most straightforwardly doomish – at least at the start of the track, wherein the band tribute names like Candlemass, Trouble and perhaps fellow modern American doomstrels Argus within the fabric of their always-impressive adamantine plod.
An album to savour, then, but perhaps not one for readers who require instant gratification. This is an album that gives away it’s secrets only after repeated listens, but I can wholeheartedly recommend the effort that that’s involved in such a quest. Brilliant stuff.
Lost Tribes of the Moon release their self-titled album on September 18th.