Discovering a new band. Now, there’s one of the ultimate joys in being a music fan! Each and every time it is equally exciting, especially as it seems to be getting harder and harder as the years go by, to find something you have not heard before AND that hits home like a bomb. Nevertheless, 2020’s got a beautiful start in this particular department. Through a recommendation, my Ogier ears were turned towards this certain band from Dallas, Texas. And those hairy ears were pleased. Let’s have a look.
The subject of discovery was Sallow Moth, a one man project from Garry Brents, who certainly is not a rookie in the band business. Active for at least a decade and boasting experience with various bands and musical directions, Brents single-handedly steers the spaceship called Sallow Moth, writing the music, lyrics and performing all the instrumentation and vocals by himself. “The Larval Hope” being the first full album of the band/project, he seems to have come up with something noteworthy and exceptional. It is the beautiful mix of influences ranging from early 1990’s Death, Cynic and Atheist and adding of some carefully planted Death Thrash like Pestilence to the mix that makes “The Larval Hope” what it is. With such a list of influences one could be easily mislead into thinkin that Sallow Moth would be one of those nostalgia acts we’ve had more than a few of in recent years, but fortunately that could not be further from the truth. “The Larval Hope” is music for the year 2020, appreciating the masterpieces of the past, but keen to go in directions of it’s own instead of simply copying.
Where Sallow Moth stands apart is especially the lyrical department. There’s an extensive sci-fi story behind everything they do. A Rush-like story about a battles of interest in far space. This alone is enough to grant the band a personality much more original than your typical Pestilence copycat would ever be able to possess. With further studying another fact stands out: 50% of the sales the band makes are donated to non-profit wildlife rescue organisations. Now, here we have somebody who is definitely into this for the music, first and foremost, not to support some Rock star lifestyle by selling as many units as possible by whatever means! I’m pretty sure there will be no selling out to whatever musical hype that might be going on in the Sallow Moth camp. Not now, or not in the future. Everything here shines through as authentic and honest instead. As each and every note in the album would be as the artist behind the music has intended them to be, as an act of pure love for music itself. Dissonant chords, hoods and incenses that have saturated the Metal scene recently are all beautifully absent on this release. No trends, no hype and no pitiful Monks garments in sight. Just fun and some well serious Music. How sweet is that!?
“The Larval Hope” is a nicely compact 30 minutes of Death Metal, built to include a surprise twist or two in the plot. The vast majority of the riff work simply radiates musical intelligence and careful planning as well as being slightly technical and advanced in delivery, it also dares to be extremely catchy. Some of the riffs and musical passages will land in your brain like a proper ear-worm from the planet Dune. The Best examples of this would be “Death Mutation vs Metallurgic Summonings,” or “Ancient Grudge.” Opening track “Noxious Revival” will most certainly raise your interest, but when one gets to the end of it, “Glimpse the Unthinkable” will turn you a Sallow Moth fan in the very first second you hear it. Songs are that wonderful to a point we are left balancing between two ideas here: Do we want more, or do we appreciate the compact delivery? The album feels so short when you think of it, but with quality music time has a tendency to fly. Maybe extra minutes would just ruin it? Hard to tell.
The bottom line here is nevertheless the fact that “The Larval Hope” is an excellent beginning to a new decade. It is a carefully planned album, with a running order to prove it. A must for the fans of early 1990’s experimental Death Metal. That particular era when bands like Death and Cynic annihilated the imaginary box Death Metal had built around itself, and pushed the door open for the genre to develop. To go beyond your average mud-wrestling in a pit of rotten debris that it was fast turning into. “The Larval Hope” reflects independent attitude in all of it’s manoeuvres and should be therefore checked out and supported by every open minded fan of underground Metal. It may have a bit of a feel of being ‘almost there’ as a full album in terms of length, but I guess that will just leave us more hungry for the next one.
Rating – 4/5
The Great Mackintosh.
What can I say about this album that the PCO hasn’t already? Hayduke from over at MoshPitNation made me aware of it, and within half an hour I had been converted into a true believer of the magical work of a certain Mr. Garry Brents. I then had to go and instantly get my hands on the first two, “Moss Deceptiva” and “Deathspore,” both of which confirmed my initial suspicions, those being that we are not dealing with a human being of any sorts here at all, and I think that maybe the story he has to tell over the span of his work thus far is actually ABOUT him in some way shape or form.
Death Metal it is for sure, drenched in a rich fantasy world of magnificent design, and musically delivered with the utmost conviction and class. The story alone is enough to carry a lot of weight, but at first listen I had no idea of any of this, I went purely on the music alone, and what an amazing effort it is. Yes, Death Metal as previously stated, but with many other elements thrown in to keep your ears focused per say. The Vocal delivery all hatred and spite, the riffs a magnificent conglomeration of all of the best that has come before, with the added flair of Garry’s imagination to bring them to a whole different level. Superb pacing, suspense, atmosphere, crushing brutality, shall I go on? Finding out there was a whole world behind this madness made it even more special, but the music can and does bloody well stand head high by itself alone.
Having said the above, this gives you one or two reasons to get this album. Both are acceptable, either will do, but regardless of whether or not you are into concept albums or give two hoots about lyrical content, you just need to simply sit back and let the music on this damn otherworldly creation speak for itself, because as the PCO stated, this is music for right fucking now, and there is no better time for you to discover it. Favourite tracks? One to Six. Nuff said.
Rating – 5/5