Review: “Black Sun Sorcery” by Moon Reaper

As Robb Flynn once sang “The more things change, the more they stay the same” and the arrival of a sophomore EP “Black Sun Sorcery” from Bristol Blackened Sludge infused Doom Metal outfit Moon Reaper that is very much the case. A going concern since 2018, they pummelled us into submission with their brilliant debut EP “Descent” in the summer of 2021 however since then it’s been all change. Mastermind, vocalist and guitarist Morgan Cradick remains the last man standing from the original line up of the band and remains its driving force while bassist Aidan Rutter (Lichway, ex-Craniation) is the only other person to remain since that first record. Joining them in the ranks are an unholy trio offering fresh blood with drummer James McPhee, guitarist Jarrad Fisher and vocalist Şirin Ann Bozkurt all making their presence felt in the live arena on a Metal 2 the Masses run for a chance to play the New Blood stage at Bloodstock this summer.

Selecting the right person to mix and master a record can be a challenge but in Wynter Prior (Countless Skies, Accursed Years, Exist In Ruin) of Sphynx Studios, Moon Reaper have chosen a master who we hold in high regard based on his previous convictions. Needless to say it doesn’t take long to reaffirm his status as listening to the opening strains of “Beyond Obscurity” alone its clear he’s nailed the bands sound. As a collective Moon Reaper push on Extreme Metal boundaries here with scalding banshee wails of pure evil from Bozkurt that sound like they belong on a Death Metal cut. Her wrath is that of a demon from the under verse an that makes for a mighty fine accompaniment for the bands dark and powerful rhythms. They lurch and stop between passages with a mid tempo chug, crossing Metal subgenre territories in seamless fashion in the process, the opening track having flavours of Sludge, Black Metal, Doom and Deathcore all woven into its very fabric. The downtempo finale is nothing short of monstrous. Increasing the intensity and adding an almost mournful melancholia, the title track “Black Sun Sorcery” is an absolute beast with Scandinavian roots. Vocal interplay between Cradick and Bozkurt works incredibly well, the pair trading moments during this bone crushing assault on the senses and what’s intriguing is that where other bands might step up the tempo, Moon Reaper step it down and keep us guessing.

Spitting and snarling from the very start of “Astrohypnosis“, Bozkurt burns the ear canals with her savagely brutal unclean vocals. Her voice is a call to the void as she roars a lyrical narrative that of a dark depression to which we can all relate while seeking to dig deep and and make changes to regain control of certain areas of her life. While that might sound like something introspective with a woe is me quality to it, there is none of that here as the lyrics are kept simple while allowing the emotive resonance to shine. The band then provide a majestic embrace sonically which means everything sings in perfect harmony as a moment of epic proportions with tasteful leads as it fades to black. It would have been a fittingly dark conclusion to the EP but Moon Reaper have one more trick in the book with “Necrochasm” which continues the descent into the depths of hell with a vice grip on the throat. There are moments that bring to mind Cradle Of Filth when the band reach Extreme Metal points but taking the left hand path less technical they strip things back to reach Deathcore levels of depravity on this one. A vicious ditty that gets a little funky in the the final third with a couple of almost Motorhead inspired moments in the riff department there is even time for blast beats and a vibrant solo before the bitter end. All in all, a powerful statement piece from a band who were underrated in the first place, this plague wind will devour your very soul [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Beyond Obscurity
  2. Black Sun Sorcery
  3. Astrohypnosis
  4. Necrochasm

Black Sun Sorcery” by Moon Reaper is out 7th June 2024 and is available over at bandcamp

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