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Stone Of Duna - Moonsplitter review

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Band: Stone Of Duna
Album: Moonsplitter
Release date: September 2023

01. Dirge For Fallen Giants
02. Deathbright
03. Stygian Slumbe
04. The Seven Aspect Snake
05. Moonsplitter

Considering the amount of stoners that have ranted about the Fibonacci sequence in “Lateralus”, it’s surprising that there aren’t more stoner metal bands out there that sound like they were influenced by Tool. On the flip side, it does mean that on the rare occasion that such a group does appear, such as Stone Of Duna, they manage to draw one’s attention.

The Swedish group formed in 2021, and the artwork for their first single, “Stygian Slumber”, made their affiliation with stoner rock/metal immediately evident, between the Sabbathian logo and the Weedian-esque nomadic figure. It’s not a misleading first impression, as a number of features present on their debut album Moonsplitter are consistent with the genre; however, as the album evolves, it gradually becomes clear that there is more in Stone Of Duna’s arsenal than many other new acts in the scene.

Right from the off, the group demonstrate their riff abilities; “Dirge For Fallen Giants” throws several tasty fuzz riffs into the equation. One other thing that is notable from the start is the tone of Marcus Brattberg; while generally in the same spectrum as many other vocalists in the style, there’s a slight Chris Cornell edge to his voice, and there are other moments on the album where a possible Soundgarden influence seeps into the music. The vocals do draw attention, but perhaps the most noteworthy portion of the song is a complex instrumental bridge; there’s a clear progressive slant to Moonsplitter, revealed in the lengthy song runtimes and use of elaborate time signature changes, and the mellow, psychedelic feel to the bridge of this song is very satisfying.

Although the progginess is present throughout, it’s as the album progresses that the alt-metal influence becomes more notable. On “Deathbright”, the rhythmic intro owes what feels like a clear debt to Tool, but as the song enters the subtly complex verse with the rousing vocals, it veers a bit closer to Soundgarden territory. There’s a bit more Maynard Keenan in the tone and phrasing of the singing on the more brooding “Stygian Slumber”, while the guitar tone turns down the fuzz a tad in favour of a heavier crunch. Both of these tracks have extended instrumental sequences in which Stone Of Duna get to show off their more psychedelic tendencies, whether they be more delicate (“Stygian Slumber”) or rowdy (see the brash solo in “Deathbright”).

Moonsplitter clocks in at a taut 38 minutes, and while each song is fairly lengthy, none of them outstay their welcome; the group find a good balance between hooky riffing, proggish complexity and satisfying instrumental exploration. As is so often the case, the longest song is also arguably the highlight, with the 11-minute title track finishing the album off in style. Perhaps the opening few minutes doesn’t draw one’s attention as strong as some other songs (such as the Ænima-esque riffing on “The Seven Aspect Snake”), but there’s an enchanting tone to the instrumental jamming, which has a hint of Spaceslug to its tone, and the way that the song swells in the multi-minute midsection is very cathartic.

Stone Of Duna are still very new, but they are definitely onto something here; taking a solid stoner metal base with effective instrumental jamming, and bolstering it with complex alt-metal cues taken from quality acts such as Soundgarden and Tool, results in something that scratches the stoner/psychedelic itch without retreading extensively trodden ground. What’s more, this combination of influences has been turned at the first time of asking into a collection of thoroughly enjoyable and engaging songs. Moonsplitter is a very promising debut from the band, and if they carry on in this vein they could become a name of real repute in the genre.

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

Written on 28.09.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 1   Visited by: 13 users
20.10.2023 - 20:35
Rating: 7

Nice review, this is certainly one of the best Stoner albums of the year and one band I’ll be watching for future releases

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