THE MOOR – YEAR OF THE HUNGER

Out now on Lion Music

Following on from a 5 track EP released at the turn of the year, Italian metal outfit The Moor return for their full blown debut album and quite impressive it is too.

Possessing a sound a little left field for Lion Music this is still progressive metal but with a more organic texture yet with hints of death metal, doom, folk and 70s influences.  At its heaviest it reminds me a little of Opeth (who wrote the track from whom the band take their name) and at its more sedate Porcupine Tree or indeed labelmates Waterclime.  This has an original sound to it though.

Vocalist/guitarist Enrico Longhin delivers a vocal that is quite original (none of your LaBrie style wailings here) whilst the musicianship is first rate yet avoids all out shred, preferring to place emphasis on grooves and textures, once again the word organic comes into play, yet the band can riff with the best of them on the likes of “Liquid Memories”.

Over Year Of The Hunger is a fine mature sounding debut suggesting the band have a bright future ahead, well worth checking out.

Rating – 90%

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SPEAKING TO STONES – ELEMENTS

Out now on Lion Music

Back some six years after their self-titled debut are the progressive metal outfit Speaking To Stones led by guitarist/founder Tony Vinci.  Over the intervening years the band have seem some personal changes most notably with Andy Engberg (Section A) now behind the mic and Mark Zonder (Fates Warning) on drums.

For the most part this is somewhat heavier than the bands “Images & Words” inspired debut and more original, let along infinitely better produced and is overall a fine collection of prog metal tracks.  5 in total, but with running lengths from a minimum of 9 minutes to 14 minutes value for money is here with a running time of a hair under an hour.

Perhaps as to be expected there is a lot to digest and it will take repeated spins to fully get into, but its time well spent with “Elements” revealing itself to be a strong album with numerous highlights and instrumental passages, this is also the best I have heard Andy Engberg too which is saying something.

Recommended for prog metal enthusiasts, or fans of heavy music with intelligent compositions.

Rating – 88%