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Moon Tooth - Crux CD (album) cover

CRUX

Moon Tooth

 

Progressive Metal

4.00 | 6 ratings

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TCat
4 stars Moon Tooth is a Progressive Metal band founded in 2012 from Long Island. They have released 2 EPs, 2 full-length albums since 2013. "Crux" is their 2nd full length album and was released in March of 2019. This album consists of 11 tracks and has a total run time of over 3 minutes with all of the tracks under the 6 minute mark. The band line-up consists of John Carbone (vocals), Nick Lee (guitar and vocals), Ray Marte (drums and vocals), and Vincent Romanelli (bass).

The album opens up with full-bore heaviness with "Trust", a heavy rocking track with a fast beat and a lot of power and just the right amount of complexity to satisfy the proggers and enough accessibility to satisfy the heavy metal masses. According to the credits, there are two guests on saxophone, but you have to listen hard to hear it. "Omega Days" continues this complicated heaviness, but is less accessible with a melody that might be difficult to single out on the first few listenings, but there is still a lot of heavy progressive metal here, with a short, slightly quieter reprieve in the middle of the track. "Through Ash" slows things down to a moderate, yet solid beat, but still with plenty of heavy guitar. When the complex vocals start, the music mellows a bit, and it is easy to hear the complexity of the melody, which this time doesn't satisfy itself by settling in a traditional song pattern. The lyrics are somewhat complicated too, portraying a conversation between man and fire. This song is definitely a strong highlight of the album.

"Muskateers" returns to a more traditional lyrical scheme, but it is hard to tell because of the freedom of the vocalist, which is a good thing in this case. The overall beat is fast and of course there is still plenty of heavy guitar. "Thorns" is more complicated and adds more prog in the mix, though there is always an ample supply of complexity throughout the album. "Rhythm and Roar" is quite chunky and features some screaming vocals deep under the lead singer on some passages, but the melody is excellent and I actually find that I'm wishing this track was a bit longer. Interestingly enough, it actually finds time for a guitar solo in the short duration. "Motionless in Sky" continues with a fast,complex sound, but this time there is a piano in the mix which plays along with the solid complexity of everything else. The music does calm down when the vocalist starts, but don't think this is a ballad as there is still a high level of energy there.

"Thumb Spike" starts out with a rapid fire rhythm, but settles a slight bit when the melody settles in, but it alternates between driving passages and slower passages while everyone in the band, including the vocalist, stay tight and totally connected through the track (and the album for that matter). "Awe At All Angles" is another huge highlight of the album and it moves along at breakneck speed most of the way through with a great solo in the break. The title track "Crux" follows this and is surprisingly mellow after all of the onslaught of heaviness before this. Fortunately, the song remains on the progressive side of things, not really becoming a typical ballad ever. There is more use of dynamic in this track which is the one thing that is somewhat lacking, but that it a minor issue in this case. The track does eventually feature an extra heavy section with screaming, so don't get too settled into the mellower beginning. Yet again, another stand out track on an album that has a lot of them. The last track is "Raise a Light (Epilogue)" which ties the album up in a good way with a track that is no less filler than anything else on the album.

Don't let the standard timings on the tracks fool you, this is excellent prog metal with a lot of punch and power. The music on the album is quite lyrically heavy in spite of the heavyiness and continued complexity of the songs. The vocalist does an excellent job of pulling it all off, never completely settling into the melody, making everything even sound more complex. This is definitely a progressive metal band that is in no way lightweight, even if the songs are never more than 6 minutes long. Every band member proves that they are top-notch musicians as they all prove their ability by adding to the complexity of it all. There have been plenty of lightweight progressive metal bands out there, but rest assured Moon Tooth is definitely not one of them. The music remains solid and progressive pretty much all the way through. Some listeners may find that the music may take some time to grow on them, but the music is so great that it should make you want to keep coming back until you get totally familiar with it. I find the album very impressive, and even though I have the minor complaint that there could be a bit more dynamic in there, I also think this is the type of music that will grow on me even more, so the 4 star rating might even end up being boosted over time. Very powerful and definitely worth a listen and a very strong 4 star album.

TCat | 4/5 |

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