Moanaa - Embers review




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Reviewer:
7.9

11 users:
8.36
Band: Moanaa
Album: Embers
Release date: March 2021


01. Nothing
02. Lie
03. Triad
04. Inflexion
05. Expire
06. Embers


It's been a while in the making, but one of Poland's most promising post-metal acts finally tackles their difficult third album.

Moanaa made an excellent first impression with their very strong debut, Descent, and whilst there was a change in vocalist by the time sophomore album Passage was released two years later, the quality remained high on this second record. However, it's been relatively quiet in the five years since Passage was released, with only 2019's EP Torches to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, the excellence of Torches made it clear that it was a case of quality over quantity for Moanaa, offering promising signs for their eventual third full-length; does Embers deliver on that promise?

Moanaa aren't a band that necessarily reinvent the wheel; their music follows the heavy-hitting sludge/delicate quiet stretches post-metal formula quite reliably. However, their heavier riffs are powerful and memorable, and their quiet periods moving and dainty, and it's performed in a manner that feels distinctive without substantially departing from established protocol. Opening track "Nothing" focuses more on the heavier side of the band, with brooding, muscular chugging and forceful percussion, whether powerful double bass rolls or full-pelt blasting. There's atmospheric guitar leads and tremolo during these heavier moments, as well as a mellow bridge midway through, but it's not until advance single "Lie" that Moanaa's softer side truly shines, a track with a gripping ebb and flow to it that climaxes with a wonderfully delicate outro, one that's not far away from that of "Three Bridges" on Cult Of Luna's most recent EP, The Raging River.

After "Lie", the remainder of Embers is comprised of tracks that place a greater emphasis on quieter music, with vibes not dissimilar to Isis's In The Absence Of Truth on the likes of "Triad". The exception to this trend is "Inflexion", the one song here that also featured on the Torches EP. "Inflexion" embodies the excellent synthesis of melancholy and heaviness featured on Torches, with an urgent, moving tone of the song powered by djent-y riffing and weighty drumming in its heavier moments, alongside really well-measured development during its softer stretches. From my perspective, "Inflexion" is the best song on Embers, with only "Lie" offering serious competition for this title.

Ultimately, that previous sentence is the basis of my overriding sentiments towards Embers. In isolation, it's a perfectly solid post-metal album with several highlight moments; however, when pitted against the band's existing discography (comparisons that featuring a song from said discography on this record invites), it falls slightly short of expectations. In its softer moments, it's not as reliably moving as Passage, its heavier moments are less consistently memorable than those on Descent, and its synthesis of the two extremes is not quite as accomplished as that on Torches. Featuring "Inflexion" does elevate Embers as a listening experience; however, replacing the last two tracks with the other two songs from Torches would elevate it further (not to discredit the thoroughly enjoyable title track), and that highlights certain limitations of Embers to me. If you're unfamiliar with Moanaa, Embers is more than good enough as an album to serve as a fitting introduction to the band; however, if you do enjoy it, I would recommend moving onto their back catalogue afterwards, where greater treasures await.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


 



Written on 04.04.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 65 users
04.04.2021 - 13:54
Witchslayer

Have to say want quite happy with their last single 'Lie'. Perhaps because I prefer their heavier stuff, but somehow I get a feeling this won't be exactly for me.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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04.04.2021 - 14:11
musclassia

Written by Witchslayer on 04.04.2021 at 13:54

Have to say want quite happy with their last single 'Lie'. Perhaps because I prefer their heavier stuff, but somehow I get a feeling this won't be exactly for me.


There's definitely heaviness on "Nothing", "Inflexion" and "Embers", so you might get some joy out of those tracks at least - not sure they quite reach the greatness of the heavy tracks from Descent, like "Sunset Growing Old", "Mills", and so on, but they're solid tracks nonetheless
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04.04.2021 - 15:17
Witchslayer

Meant wasn't happy :-)
Thx for info, will give the whole thing a few spins soon.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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05.04.2021 - 07:21
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Love this album. The soft, quieter parts are the highlight for me. Put the cover song and "Red" from the EP on this and it's gold. Excellent review Matt and thanks.
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rekt
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