Moaning Silence – A Waltz into Darkness
Into their second release, Moaning Silence’s A Waltz into Darkness features sonic familiarity which creates both a haunting and mournful album for fans of the genre.
Finding commonality with both early-My Dying Bride and Anathema, A Waltz into Darkness brings simple but dark and resonating riffs into their music – all the while, intertwining some melody for added ambiance and tossing in a few surprises along the way.
The opening track, Rite of Decay, builds harmonies with both male and female-led vocals to climax into a withering sound of despair. Listeners who let themselves get wrapped with the music will find themselves unexpectedly headbanging along; with the lyrical rhymes and drum beat by the end as the next song, The Silence of the Gods, keeps pounding the listener across.
Also surprising is how the keyboards feel like the unsung hero of the album: adding a sense of grandiose underneath all of the sadness. In the track Song for Winter, the piano takes lead among the female-driven vocals and bass tones. Especially near the end of the song, the keys act as a beautiful tie in-between both the sorrow singing and metal instrumentation. The keys can be heard again taking the charge in I Am the Sorrow – shining yet again with its ambiance.
Other surprising moments are the intensity of doom which ebbs and flows within different songs. With the ending of Stormbirds, chords become more uplifting than expected and almost pull the listener away from what had came before it. Yet some of the album’s heaviest sounds are shown in the middle of the track The Lights of Alexandria where the bass, keys, and slow-tempo drums create a tense march underneath a emotionally-driven guitar solo.
While the ebbs and flows within the songs work, one of the few drawbacks to the album was when vocal harmonies would occur as female vocals would tend to overshadow the male’s at some points. In some moments the guitars could have had some added oomph to their distortion, while the snare levels would vary from song to song – or sometimes even within the same song. Upon first listen, it felt as if the band was replicating Anathema’s Serenades in terms of production – which it almost does. However, Serenades was released in 1993.
Still, A Waltz into Darkness is a great album with plenty of introspective surprises for the listener along the way. From start to finish, the consistencies of both the song writing and performances keep the listener involved for the entire, brilliantly-gloomy ride.