Extreme Metal Fanzine est. 2012

Latest Updates

Filter by: band
[%] - [[0-9]] - [A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [Q] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]
Filter by: label
[[0-9]] - [A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [Q] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]
Filter by: style
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [M] - [P] - [S] - [T] - [V]
Filter by: country
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [I] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [P] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U]
Filter by: vmu-author
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]

Upon Stone – Dead Mother Moon

upon stone – dead mother moon


One of the joys of discovering new bands on Bandcamp is seeing the truly talented ones eventually break out. Upon Stone is one of those chance encounters. When I heard their first EP (‘Where Wild Sorrows Grow’), I was immediately infatuated with their brand of sorrowful yet aggressive Melodic Death/Black. After two years and one signing to Century Media later, the band have graced us with their debut ‘Dead Mother Moon’. When this record was announced, I couldn’t help but already feel a sense of anticipation over what was to come thanks to the beautiful artwork of Andreas Marschall – responsible for illustrating some of the greatest albums in this style such as The Jester Race.

As I began to dig into ‘Dead Mother Moon’, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face with the way the band were able to weave together so many small facets of the subgenre together. There were moments when I was hearing snippets of In Flames, followed by At The Gates then Dissection and even lesser known bands like Unanimated or Eucharist. Comparing the EP to the full length, there is a stronger emphasis here on speedier and snappy compositions that never wear their welcome. This is most evident in the refined guitar solos, which in many ways feel like an ode to albums like ‘Whoracle’ or ‘Colony’ with their shreddy nature that give an almost futuristic and elated feeling.

It’s very evident that even though Upon Stone is a new band, their members are certainly not new musicians by any means with how tight the musicianship is – having cut their cloth in other acts like Vaelmyst (much more proggy sounding Melodic Death Metal) and numerous Hardcore acts. Certainly, the Hardcore influence can be felt, most notably in the vocal approach of Xavier who goes for more of a Hardcore shout than growls which can initially feel a bit jarring given it’s not the standard for records such as this. Yet this feeling quickly dissipates with repeated listens as it’s just such a fantastic album from start to finish. The members of Upon Stone understand well that an excellent Melodic Death Metal is not just about the melodies itself, but the ability to delicately balance said melodies with the aggression of Death Metal – otherwise it feels completely toothless.

There is no shortage of this in the record, such as the punchy roller coaster of ‘Paradise Failed’. This includes a guest appearance of Brian Fair from Shadows Fall whose raw and powerful growls serve as a segway to a ripping guitar solo that embodies everything good in the genre. However, one of my favourite tracks is ‘To Seek and Follow the Call of Lions’. The first half displays great deal of in your face harmonized riffs only to then lead into one of the most memorable guitar solos of the record. This is then complimented with furious blast beats, rapidly shifting to a beautiful, harmonized lead before closing with even more furious blasting. It’s a track that is simultaneously brutal, mournful and effusive. There is even the inclusion of a small whispered vocal passage (also feeling like something straight out of ‘Whoracle’). These small details that the band can sprinkle in, such as some acoustic passages (including the brief interlude ‘Nocturnalism’) are a testament of how the band have carefully studied the works of their influences to form something of their own.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the closer track (if we exclude the fun Misfits cover) named ‘The Lantern’. This is a short record, barely clocking in at over half an hour and this would be the longest track and feels the most epic. The whole song builds to a high crescendo, eventually culminating with a beautiful dual guitar harmony lead with some light synths in the background. As I was listening to this track, I couldn’t help but simultaneously feel a sense of melancholy and nostalgia – almost as if the album was bidding farewell.

Despite its short length, Upon Stone have done an incredible job of doing justice to the original Gothenburg scene and the wider Melodic Death/Black pantheon. As I listened to many of the melodies here, I couldn’t help but be transported back to my early teenage years as I devoured albums like ‘The Jester Race’, ‘Storm of the Light’s Bane’ or ‘The Gallery’ to name a few. In some circles, Melodic Death Metal has had the reputation of being a sugar-coated and lesser form of Extreme Metal reserved for people unable to stomach real Death or Black Metal. Yet for many of us who grew up on these records, they were important entry points that opened the door to so much more aggressive forms of Metal. Yet even though it’s been over 20 years, all those wonderful melodic passages are deeply seared into my head. I feel it will be the same with many of the passages of this record in the future, one which I highly recommend for any lover of the original Gothenburg sound.

Upon Stone

Related Articles

Century Media

Related Articles