I wasn’t sure what a fugue is other than the fact it’s associated with Bach. Well to cut a long story short, it’s about counterpoint and repetition. The song “Frère Jacques” is an example of it through the way it comes back on itself. Moonreich are French but I’ve got to say that where the fugue part comes from is lost on me.

And it doesn’t matter anyway because immediately this album comes across as a dynamic, musical extravaganza. Starting with “Fugue pt 1:Every time she passes away” and followed by part 2 “Every time the earth slips away”, the first two tracks soar into the heights of majestic blackened death metal heights. It is broken down into passages, each building on the magnificent and despairing picture of the previous one. 18 minutes have passed, two tracks have been played and I’m in the midst of this turbulent world of flying debris. It’s massive but there is great attention to detail. I sensed a slight touch of hardcore in part 1 and loved the swampy passage, which reminded me of my old mates Devilish Impressions on part 2, but this is coherent and you have to hang on as the evil winds pull you along. “With Open Throat for Way Too Long” is a more conventional thrashing deathly blast. The English of the lyrics is a bit dubious but you can’t deny the intensity or the intent as we wallow in poisoned waters, torrents of excrement and a burning, grey world. It’s not as subtle as the two parts of “Fugue”, but the level of menace and violence provides compensation.

The intensity increases again with “Heart Symbolism”. Behind the wall of thunderous noise is a Katatonian riff. Breaks take us off into different directions. They are always shadowy and dark. The problem with all this intensity is that it has to be reinvented, something that did happen on the two parts of “Fugue” but didn’t so much on “Rarefaction”. The excitement and interest drained away for me here in spite of the noise level and accomplished musicianship. I looked to the strangely-titled “Carry that drought cause I have no arms anymore” to pick things up. I’m not sure what the relevance of “no arms” is but I noticed this came up on Fugue part 2. The pattern of this track is different, which was welcome. It is more deliberate and more noticeably sophisticated in its structure. “Carry that drought” has a depth, which gives it greater darkness and creepiness. This transfers to the start of the final track “The things behind the moon”. As the vocalist roars, there is depth behind it. The tempo picks up and the world is confirmed as a grim and nasty place.

After a flying start, this album dropped off a little for me before finding its way again towards the end. During its best moments, “Fugue” has an avant-garde element about it, as Moonreich develop atmospheres through varied but invariably dark passages.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)