While listening to Moss, it quickly becomes evident that this is one of those bands where the name is not just a title, but an idea. Think about the nature of moss: it grows directionless but persistent, deliberate and patient. Uninhibited, moss will overtake and consume any object nearby. This insight gives just a glimpse of the idea behind Moss’ new record “Horrible Night.”
Those interested in instant gratification should turn away immediately. Moss’ music is an exercise in diligence and open-mindedness. It is a ponderous beast, best absorbed in totality and resistant to dissection. Those who try to over-analyze the mass before them are missing the forest for the trees, as Moss’ “Horrible Night” is conjured out of musical color and emotion rather than form or scale.
While not as lyrically grisly as Autopsy or any of Chris Reifert’s similar work, Moss is musically related to that style, and does try to capture similar themes of mental confusion, disorientation and anguish. Each song develops slowly, allowing the tension to creep into the piece as it unfolds over seven, eight or sometimes ten minutes. To look at the song “Dark Lady” minute by minute is a fool’s errand. The individual snapshots offer very, very little – only the complete composition, taken in by osmosis and in its own time, offers a picture of the band’s message.
The music itself is exactly what one might expect. It is bass-heavy, throaty and seeded thoroughly with the earthy tones of doom metal’s most dramatic dirges. “Dreams From the Depths” is just one of the album’s examples, but is the most condensed and indicative of the total sound.
Moss’ stumbling block, and they must know it exists, is that their record has narrow appeal (not totally different from actual moss.) Unless someone is looking for this specific style and sound, there is little chance of encountering it an less of enjoying it. In Moss’ defense, they’re not trying got make music for the masses, even the metal masses at large, in the first place.
As our society becomes increasingly geared toward results and the concept of ‘now,’ it’s refreshing to hear an artists who still believe that the journey is equally if not more rewarding. “Horrible Night” is immersive, but does not hit like a tidal wave. Rather, it is a slowly rising tide, and those who are looking to be enveloped by it will be served well.