Released on the 23rd November 2020, Entity, Chapter II: Echoes from a Cognitive Dystopia is the sophomore album from Norwegian band, Moonscape.
Back in 2017, we covered the debut album Entity and described it as having:
A ton of imagination & talent, Moonscape have created a musical journey that is like a trip through all the best parts of metal in 2017. Heavy riffs, soaring melody, clean & guttural vocals, screaming solos…it’s all here & all very easy to enjoy.
Now, as 2020 ends it’s time to take a wander back into the world of Moonscape. Beginning with the haunting but epic intro of A Prelude to Grief before the album truly gets started with Illusion or Reality.
The riffs are flying already, the tempo is hot, and the excitement is palatable. As it looks to slow down (it doesn’t), things get markedly heavier as guttural vocals and a heftier rhythm takes hold. Leaning into the melodic death metal side of things; many varying vocal styles, chugging percussion and wild guitar intricacies make for a thrilling listen.
However, it can’t’ be ignored that this track is over 16 minutes long and the question about how Moonscape will sustain this is fair. Have no fear, though as this is a journey. Where a drop into extravagant and folkish melody changes the tone temporarily. The grandeur of this segment can’t be understated, especially as it slowly evolves over a substantial period. The tempo entering a higher gear as a guitar goes wild and Moonscape build back up to a heavier groove only to pull the rug out again and get really weird. It’s all starting to remind of Devin Townsend at his most uncontrollable.
After that, it would be nice to say that thinks get simpler but that’s not the Moonscape way. Although we do get a shorter and more focused heavy effort at first. With a frenzy of guitar work, demonic vocals one moment, clean and epic sounding at others, and a meatily memorable percussion section. The light and airy melody drop is a little more intrusive here but it’s not overly long and brings back the heavy in some style.
Which brings us to the finale of In the Mourning Hours and unsurprisingly, it offers a ton of variety as per usual. Bursting into life immediately with an energetic trad-metal feel. The riffs race along, the vocals are brimming with passion and a guitar solo is as peppy as you could possibly get. Of course, this is just the first part of a more detailed experience.
When it does shift position, it’s to a crunchier and weightier metal sound led by a feverish bit of guitar shredding and wilder sounding rhythm. It is suitably epic and the most exhilarating track of the bunch.
There’s so much going on here. This is an album that needs time and effort, but it’s one that rewards patience.
Moonscape – Entity, Chapter II: Echoes from a Cognitive Dystopia Full Track Listing:
1. A Prelude to Grief
2. Illusion or Reality?
3. The Ails to Withstand
4. In the Mourning Hours
Moonscape - Entity, Chapter II: Echoes from a Cognitive Dystopia (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10