We’ll probably never stop apologizing for missing music from 2018; this is just a reality of a year in which not only so many bands released great albums but so many genres. Even with nets cast as wide as ours, and believe you me, they are cast wide, some things will slip through. For example, no matter how many lists, sub-Reddits, and mailing lists for traditional heavy metal I’ll scour, there were probably many albums in the genre that I missed in 2018. Case in point, Lost Tribes of the Moon, who released a fantastic debut in the form of their self-titled release from this year. This Milwaukee based band deal in a kind of porto-doom heavy metal, backed by seriously long tracks, excellent tone, and a muddy production style which works incredibly well with their sound. Let’s dig in!
“Wych Elm” is probably the only place to get started; the slightly-above ten minute track dominates the early passages of the album, showcasing much of what’s great about this release. First of all, that guitar tone; all the riffs on this release enjoy this kind of redolent, old school approach to guitars. The feedback is present but not as shrill as “pure” heavy metal, muddied by plenty of overtones and corrosion. The bass responds in kind, thick sounds providing the foundation on which the guitar chords rest. The last part of the equation are the amazing vocals, channeling those early days when the boundaries between stoner, doom, and heavy metal were still being explored. They vocals are flashy without being vain, flamboyant but possessing of plenty of restraint when needed so as not to fall into pointless showmanship.
The production wraps up all of these elements into an overbearing and scintillating whole, adding just the write levels of volume and girth to make the whole dynamic really pop. Add to that some truly excellent guitar solos (check out the one around the 7:50 mark, it’s brilliant) and you have yourself everything you need from a traditional heavy metal release. Somehow, all of these elements conspire to make the album breeze by despite of the long track lengths, allowing the band to really explore their intent and ideas without overstaying welcome. In short, it fucking rips; play it loud!