Moonville – Silver Screen
Everyone’s got those albums in their collection (if you’ve got a big enough collection, at least) that they buy and forget about for a while. You might listen to it a little just when it’s new, but otherwise it sits and gathers dust for a few months/years, etc. Then, upon pulling that album back out later, you’re completely blown away by what assails your ears. This…is precisely what Moonville’s “Silver Screen” has done to me of late, and despite all of the new music around this year, this is one of my most exquisite discoveries of the summer.
Sounding like a masterful amalgamation of Theocracy’s mastery of harmonization, Edguy’s preoccupation with silliness and the speed and glory of Finnish power metal, Moonville take all speakers by storm with the synth-supplemented intro to “Moonfall”. After the initial blow has been struck, there’s really no letting up, and to a fan of melodic power metal like myself, it’s better than the most precious illicit drug that you could ever imagine. After the sublime title track and the wickedly catchy “The Obligator”, the band finally slows things down to a more moderate tempo with something a little less remarkable in “The Cloven Hoof”. While I don’t find this song to be much to write home about, it’s a good change of pace, and shows the versatility of the band’s songwriting talents.
After that, it’s straight back into the stratosphere, and “Claws In The Dark”, “Strange Letters”, and “Fool’s Victory” are all extremely satisfying. The other truly remarkable track prior to the close of the album is “The Coleslaw Serenade”, a jaunty mid-paced piece of whimsy that’s decidedly remarkable and pleasant to sing along with. “Millionaire In Mind” finally drops the quality of the album just a hair, but a break from all of the ridiculous melody is almost necessary.
While the rhythm section doesn’t do anything over the top, the syncing of the trap set with the rhythm guitar line is some of the finest that I’ve heard in recent memory. Rather than just battering away, the band has made almost an art of carefully meshing their guitar leads with supporting elements. In a genre where so many drummers batter away unceasingly at their double bass, this is tremendously bracing!
With his gliding vocals and tender crooning, vocalist Pierre Oxenryd might fool you into believing his guise of subtlety and mildness, but at a couple of high points of the album, he lets fly with some of the finest power metal screams I’ve heard this side of Daniel Heiman. For a rapturous experience, let yourself get wrapped up in “Strange Letters” in a dark room. If all goes well, you’ll be shaking uncontrollably after the final chorus melts your fragile mind with a sensation not unlike a sheet of liquid flame. The oddly enchanting lilt of “The Coleslaw Serenade” brings forth another opportunity for this completely unknown vocalist to thrive. Oxenryd’s vibrato and knack for syllabic excellence make for the lack of beefiness in his tone. But then again, that’s not what we typically listen to this sort of music for anyways.
“Silver Screen” is a highly laudable piece of work that struck me from out of nowhere, and it is my sincere hope that it blindsides a good number more of my kind. This is a perfect example of sublimely composed, superbly executed, supremely catchy, and criminally unknown power metal. It’s hard to find on hard copy too, as I’ve shelled out $22 US Dollars for mine.
And worth every last penny.
Daniel’s Rating: 4.25 out of 5