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They Watch Us From The Moon - Cosmic Chronicles, Act I: The Ascension review

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Band: They Watch Us From The Moon
Album: Cosmic Chronicles, Act I: The Ascension
Release date: May 2023

01. On The Fields Of The Moon
02. Space Angel
03. Mother Of All Bastards
04. Creeper AD
05. Return To Earth

Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension is the debut record from Kansas psychedelic/stoner metal band They Watch Us From The Moon. I assume it’s not too much of a surprise to learn that a band called They Watch Us From The Moon are playing stoner metal rather than, say, deathgrind or folk metal.

This debut full-length comes several years after the group’s first EP, 2020’s Moon Doom. There are remnants of that EP to be heard on Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension, as Moon Doom’s “M.O.A.B.” has been revised significantly into this record’s “Mother Of All Bastards”, but most of the material here is brand new. Now, They Watch Us From The Moon are a psychedelic stoner doom band on the New Heavy Sounds label with a thematic focus on the cosmos and a female lead singer (well, two actually): hands up anyone whose mind is rocketing towards Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard (particularly due to the shared use of the word 'bastard'), as the similarities between the two groups extend from a surface level description of the two bands and down to the specific contents of their respective records.

They’re not identical groups by any stretch of the imagination; for starters, MWWB don’t have nearly as interesting stage names as TWUFTM, whose singers Nova 1001001 and Luna Nemeses are joined by equally colourful characters such as Zakkatron The Cyborg and The General. Beyond that though, the almost Ufomammut-esque electronic psychedelia of MWWB isn’t particularly present on Cosmic Chronicles. Instead, songs such as the bluesy “Space Angel” and the brash organs of “Creeper A.D.” feel more closely tied to classic-sounding psychedelic hard rock akin to Blues Pills and the desert rock scene.

Nevertheless, the combination of dense, fuzzy doom riffs and sickly sweet vocals is one that works well for both groups, and opening song “On The Fields Of The Moon” is an excellent introduction for anyone newly exposed to TWUFTM. It has a gentle, languid feel to it despite the heaviness of the underlying instrumental tone, and the harmonized vocal melodies are immediately memorable and charming. It’s probably the strongest song on the album, and has a solid solo section to boot that takes the song in a new direction while still maintaining its vibe.

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a bit more in this vibe on the album; the one other song that really scratches the same itch is closer “Return To Earth”, which has a warmth to some of its grooves, and a grandiose feel to its chorus that gives a solid sense of finality to Cosmic Chronicles. The 3 tracks that are sandwiched between this pair are still very much decent, but the psych-rock/doom tone and greater emphasis on cool swagger on them rather than the relaxed-yet-intrepid feel of the aforementioned duo doesn’t work quite so well for me.

I do find that feel of “On The Fields Of The Moon” and “Return To Earth” to be the standout feature of Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension, and I hope to hear some more of it on future outings. The record as a whole isn’t especially novel, but it does have a somewhat distinctive charm compared to a lot of stoner doom groups, and ultimately They Watch Us From The Moon stand out for more than just the quirky names.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 8

Written on 06.06.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 2   Visited by: 51 users
08.06.2023 - 13:48
JoHn Doe

Who's watching us from the moon and why?
I might check this out, just for the interesting band name, hope I find the time for it.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
17.06.2023 - 02:50

As a huge space nerd, the name and cover have me intrigued. I’m definitely gonna be checking this one soon.

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