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Album Reviews : Moss – Sub Templum

By on August 12, 2008

Being a sucker for music with atmosphere, I really enjoy a lot of doom, even when it is ridiculously slow, long and repetitive. But to me, this band is simply boring. It sounds like they have just aimed to make the slowest, simplest doom songs possible, and that’s all. It’s just so bland.

Sub Templum starts off well, with the 5 minute intro “Ritus”. It’s a mostly ambient track with a heavy drone fading in and out with cymbals, e-bow, and various other sounds and instruments sneaking subtly out of the background. The drone eventually fades away leaving the other instruments to slowly turn to silence on their own terms. It’s a fairly simply track, but works well and is the only moment on the album that features any real atmosphere.

45 seconds of silence pass after the intro track, and the massive, heavily distorted guitars of “Subterraen” punch you in the gut. Eventually, some (not quite as heavy) slow drumming joins in, followed by the occasional haunting shrieks of vocalist Olly Pearson. I was waiting for this song to develop, but it never did. There is very little variation, with the music pretty much repeating itself for the whole 23 minutes of this monster track. There are no backing sounds here either, other than the distortion of the guitars. That’s pretty much all there is to this track. Other than perhaps the vocals on occasion, there is no emotion or atmosphere here.

“Dragged to the Roots” continues along the same path; however it’s not quite as mind numbingly boring because it’s only 9 minutes long. This one is also a tad faster, and while that doesn’t really make the guitars any more interesting, the drums are, even if it is very slight.

Then comes the real epic of the album, clocking in at a whopping 35 minutes, “Gate III: Devils From The Outer Dark”. This track is actually three “different” parts, with no gaps in between. It’s beyond me how you can tell where the three parts start and end though. After 5 minutes of essentially the same thing as the other songs, I was shocked. Holy shit, some variation! There were spoken vocals for a little bit, but they quickly disappeared and it was back to the boring stuff. Around half way through the song, the vocals become a bit more prominent with some wailing screams which seem to be eaten up by the guitars distortion. More spoken vocals eventually come in, and the album ends.

After what felt like a hell of a lot longer than 66 minutes and 6 seconds (original hey?), nothing really happened. The songs never develop, they never create any atmosphere, they just drag on. I’m sure there are some doom fans around that might like this, in which case I would recommend having a listen to the shorter track “Dragged to the Roots”, although the first minute alone will really show you everything on the album. I’m going to be somewhat generous with my score because the intro is quite good. 2/10

Band: Moss
Album: Sub Templum
Year: 2008
Genre: Doom
Label: Rise Above Records
Origin: United Kingdom

1. Ritus <- Reviewers Choice
2. Subterraen
3. Dragged to the Roots
4. Gate III: Devil’s From The Outer Dark
i. Walpurgis
ii. The Coming of 13
iii. Exitus Templum


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.