MoonIt’s all too easy for the kind of semi-ambient black metal that Aussie one-man-band Moon exhibits to melt into the grey and white landscapes from whence it came like static on a stormy night. Take some harsh guitars, repetitive riffs, acoustic picking and drifting keyboards to the fore – then just add snow. Leaving any kind of mark on the frozen tundra, and the subtle self-prescribed confines, takes a deft hand – let alone a listener with a few hours spare to get into your musical musings.

But once you get past the overriding urge to pick up a pair of scissors, some sellotape and leave twenty minutes or so of this 79-minute journey of drifting black metal on the cutting room floor, it slowly becomes easier to let your imagination ride through the landscapes with your corpse painted guide showing you the way. The band’s sole member Miasmyr – although I understand there is a live line-up – describes the music as a kind of meditation on a negative plane. Freeing your mind of all those deeply imbedded and confining restrictions that society imposes on you – or as the man himself describes it ‘to break down the veneer of the rational mind and give unlife to the inner world of nihilistic abstraction in arcane descent’. The question is are you up for that? Or maybe you’ve already done it – get you!

Of course all that is implicit rather than explicit and there’s a fair amount of work for you to do for yourself. Comparisons have been made with Xasthur, Burzum, fellow countryman Drowning the Light and even Darkspace (at times fairly, as on Tunnels of Lost Thoughts). But for me this is also very much in the vein of a lot of Eastern European semi-ambient black metal stuff I’ve heard. The emphasis appears to be as much on timbre and tone as much as it is on an actual musical journey making this a more ambient affair than some of the above bands.

And the length is perfect timing for a frosty early morning walk or an evening spent mentally casting off the shackles of the modern world view and monotheistic paradigms in all their forms. On the other hand I have a lot of material lined up in the event I ever get around to that walk or have that spare evening – several albums by all the above listed bands included! So when I ask myself what I really think Moon is bringing that others don’t, I begin to struggle. At times it’s easy to pick up the thread of where Miasmyr is going and the flat keyboards certainly create a background that creates a certain off-beat mood. At other times it feels like there’s not a lot going on and the album almost feels longer than its 80 minutes.

I’m sure with enough effort you could really sink into Render The Veils but it’s overall effect is contemplative rather than to reset your brain. Entertaining enough but I think I need something with a bit more of an edge to really find my inner arcane self.

(6.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)