Today we have the honor of premiering an early full stream of ‘Muse of the Nightside‘, the debut full-length album from Finnish black metal trio MOON ORACLE who saunter and slash their way into skull with their doom-stained and raw-illuminant bass driven craft. Arguably the black metal highlight of this month for the outlier attuned, or at least for my own taste, take note that members of the Finnish black metal outer realms (Ride For Revenge, Blood Red Fog, etc.) perform these grinding and glowing rituals with the same imaginative force we’ve come to expect from their other bands. To mark the event we are grateful to have had the chance to partake in a short interview with Sûrya-Ishtara on concept, collaboration, inspiration, and some general ideation.
Scroll down to the full stream below and give thyself to the bounding-black ritual of ‘Muse of the Nightside‘ which will be available on compact disc, cassette tape, vinyl LP and digital download this Friday, August 27th through the fine folks at Signal Rex & Bestial Burst. Thanks goes to the band, their labels and their representation for the opportunity to share this brilliant album a few days early.
What do you see on the other side of the world in the darkness? Is it the unknown that inspires Moon Oracle? Ominous atmosphere, anxietous rituals, rabid disgust and decay — I get the sense that this album is less a reactionary prophecy than it is a mediation on personal truths.
The album is multi-layered on the view on how it is approached: it is indeed partly a subjective meditation about the principles that belong to the aspects of lunar symbolism and the cyclical sense of drama there is, yet the source material from which we have found our aspirations, can be traced upon mythological/historical data wedded with the esoteric interpretations. The resonance with these topics is a result of intuitive projecting, so one shouldn’t expect historically “accurate” interpretation of the concept, but no need as the justification of it comes through the resonance with the Unknown and the Dark.
Is Moon Oracle solely an exploration aimed at finding the right sound or is there some spiritual significance to the symbolism we find within ‘Muse of the Nightside’? I ask because the tone of the performances, and especially the bass guitar arrangements, often appear as if they were pulled from a serious “breakthrough” state. Is Moon Oracle a songwriting collaboration or does one specific entity the guide on ‘Muse of the Nightside’? Is the rhythm and pacing of ‘Muse of the Nightside’ simply the result of each member rolling the bones together and seeing what happened?
Although the compositions were made before even the concept was contemplated, the link between the music itself and the themes go hand-in-hand. When the writing and arrangement process was on, again the intuitive part was at play: the songs were seen as complete only when we were able to “feel” the dark evocative energy through them. The lyrical part came afterwards, but constructing them followed the same logic as well, as it was necessary to felt the resonance between the audial and lyrical interplay.
The songs were mostly crafted from a scratch by our drummer, U, with whom I started the band in the first place. We both had some drafts done, yet they came to find their final form after discussing of what shall be the essence of our work & of course rehearsing them with a certain intensity. In general, everyone in the process shared their part of “crafting” with their own capabilities and ideas, and thus this is how it came to be. And have no doubts that this is the way we are going to work in future as well.
Beyond the progression of the song itself, “The 10th Hour” is particularly exciting for its warm-up jam to start, something we might find in psychedelic doom or at least a live performance; I’d guess Necromantia or certain Barathrum records are distant ancestral notions. Earlier in the record some parts of “Rite of Chthonic Mother” feel in tune with the first Saint Vitus record (or, much of the Finnish doom tradition) especially as the vocals intensify. Maybe there is precedence within a band like Faustcoven for this sort of influence, and some Moon Oracle member’s other work too, but is this too much of a ‘face value’ assessment on my part? Was this combination of black/doom (and maybe even some early Hellenic second wave) atmosphere intended? There is an experimental fringe feeling to the full listen, but I get the sense there was a vision in mind.
Your notions on these influences were quite accurate. Although we were highly inspirated by some of the artists mentioned here (early NECROMANTIA & BARATHRUM, SAINT VITUS etc.), it was not our intention to plagiate the masters, but they only showed the way from where we start upon. Conscious and unconscious influences come from diverse sources for sure, but rather than focusing on name-dropping just because of it, we’ll give the room for listener to trace those influences if the one’s mind wants deliberately build up those connections. But all the better it is, if one perceives the result as having no associations to paint the picture too much.
Will Moon Oracle be a studio project going forward? Is the band able to rehearse together, are live performances on the table in the long run? Are there any set plans for future releases from the group?
Would rather coin it as a real band keep focusing on studio-efforts; Moon Oracle gets every bit of intensity as any other bands we are involved with. We haven’t talked about the possibility of live performances yet and probably won’t consider them as high priority as long as the current COVID-situation is heavily in effect. As for future releases, a split record with SOMBRE FIGURES is about to be published first as a cd-ep through Bestial Burst and later on vinyl by Deviant Records. We’re also working now with the 2nd album, but still a lot of work to do with it until it’s finished.
What is the best way that fans can show support for Moon Oracle going forward?
The work shall show its value in the long run, if there is such. The listener is suggested to take oneself away from the hectic surroundings and give a focused listen for the album – love it, hate it… But just have an honest reflection from it.
Per the press release:
SIGNAL REX, in conspiracy with BESTIAL BURST, is proud to present MOON ORACLE’s striking debut album, Muse of the Nightside, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.
MOON ORACLE was formed by Sûrya-Ishtara and U after spending years searching for their own sound with previous bands. Later on, Harald Mentor was asked to fill the role of vocalist, knowing his abilities from such acts as Ride for Revenge and Incriminated, among many others. Thus formed, MOON ORACLE began their first recording in earnest.
Now, that first recording arrives in full-length form with Muse of the Nightside. Aptly titled, Muse of the Nightside reveals MOON ORACLE as astute auctioneers of pure-yet-idiosyncratic metal, equally informed by archaic black metal and eldritch doom, all bass-heavy crunge and wild tribal drumming. And yet, these essentially lunar reflections stem from the need to reiterate their darker, violent energies into expressive form: intense, irascible, derelict, dire. Sonically, then, the album explores that battleground between the Id and the Ego – barbaric primitivism ripped asunder and reshaped into ghoulishly avant-garde shapes. It’s a trip, man.
MOON ORACLE is not for everyone; taboos exist for a reason. For those of such constitution, their Muse of the Nightside will open its chasm and ensnare with lurid ease.
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