The short-form progressive album seems to be a dying art. Bands who venture into the genre are few and far between; more infrequent still are those who can do it well. There's just something about progressive music that compels bands to push themselves longer and longer, and while that's not unwelcome, there's something to be said for fitting all of that complexity and intrigue into a smaller package. Metal newcomers Moth tackle that exact problem on their 2013 debut, Endlessly in Motion.
What I like most about this album is that, while the band are firmly rooted in straight-up death metal with a noticeable progressive twist, they don't let themselves get chained down doing one thing. You can hear clear hints of death metal, heavy metal, and djent throughout the album, and pieces change direction on a dime. Just when you think you're in for a slice of anthemic, thrashy Metallica-influenced heavy metal, the band will break away into near-acoustic rock, or ambient synth passages, or even near-atonal bursts of heaviness that rival Gojira in their intensity.
And while that variety in style would be enough to keep the album fresh on its own, Moth refuse to let any of their pieces grow dull or stale for a lack of interesting writing. Though you can hear some clear growing pains (it is their debut, after all), all of the songs on this album hint at a higher level of musical awareness, and that shines through spectacularly in the compositions. You can tell a lot of thought was put into fitting the pieces of each song together instead of haphazardly chaining disjointed passages together like some progressive acts are wont to do (I'm looking at you, The Mars Volta).
Of course, the album is far from perfect, and for every truly intriguing compositional choice Moth make, they also make a few that are quite perplexing (just what's with that jarringly sudden fade out on "Reverse"?). In addition, by the time they reach the home stretch of the album, you do get the inkling of a feeling that the band have already said everything they have to say. I'm not saying that they padded the album, but you can definitely tell on some of the pieces just how far they had to reach for material. That all said, those are minor, anally retentive complaints that will hardly mar the experience for the average listener.
Endlessly in Motion is a welcome debut from a band with clear talent and an ear for interesting composition. Though it's a bit rough around the edges, it leaves no doubt in my mind that they're going to only go up from here. Definitely check this album out.
Recommended if you like: Mutiny Within, Gojira, Aeon Zen
7.5 / 10
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