Moonknight – Zhora
(Rising Beast Recordings)
One-man bands are no rarity in black metal. I’ve already talked about two in my Top 25 and Moonknight certainly won’t be the last one. Unlike many albums release by one-man bands, Zhora is an incredibly dynamic, emotive, and eclectic. One could describe these songs raw and depressive, and they would be right to do so, but that doesn’t fully capture how many different styles are present on Zhora. No one tracks sounds a like on this album. The album starts with a chord, sustained for a minute until it becomes a wash of feedback and reverb. This leads into the tracks “Weakhearted” and “The Tsirku”, which balance ferocity and anguish. Between urgent riffs and exhilarating guitar leads, Moonknight craft these guitar clouds with multiple guitars layered over each other in such a manner that they produce floating beds of sound that are easy to sink into. “Valley of Torment” sends the listener on a slow and steady march through vast open fields of desolation, guided by a distant scream as delicately strummed chords and mournful melodies are looped over again. The album ends with two tracks that simultaneously retain the DSBM ambiance while introducing more sanguine songs, from the light skip and catchy melodies of “Wounded Rider” and the ecstatic violence of “Three Gold Whips”. It’s not often you get this much variety in such a short collection of songs, especially done so well.