The latest release from Moonlight Cypress Archetypes, SkyThala brings a more orchestral and symphonic approach to black metal taking heavy influence from famed Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. There’s a strong sound created here and stands out from the rest of the MCA catalog. There’s real deep intensity not only within the metal passages but the symphonic pieces really drive home this twisted and dark atmosphere that fits with the lyrical themes, touching upon the Russian revolution, gulags, Rasputin, and other darker aspects of Russian history.
More often than not I find my self usually put off by ‘symphonic’ metal. Usually, those types of releases rely heavily on the synths and added organs to give it this over arching gothic and classical feel to it that draws back from the metal and gives this weak impact sonically. With this SkyThala release though, the band is able to strike a perfect balance between the two, having the organs and added synth strings layer in with the guitars and drums creating this forceful wall of sound that still holds the melodies and creative song writing that is ever present within this release. Especially on the fourth track Rotted Wooden Castles where the transition between epic symphonic metal to twisted and crushing death metal chugs shows the diversity within this album and how it all works together flawlessly. Another chaotically genius track is At Dawn They Walk, where there’s a twisted break down half way through the track that is clearly inspired by the works of Igor Stravinsky where the guitars, piano, and bass line up in unison to create these jarring and angular tunes that almost set it apart from the chugging flow of the rest of the track.
This could easily be the most approachable of the Moonlight Cypress Archetypes releases. While just as creative and heavily thematic as the other albums, this one isn’t as jarring and far out there musically. Personally, I feel that helps it stand out among the other more dense releases. All 6 of the tracks being well over 8 minutes long, you’d think you’d find your self tiring out, but on the contrary, wanting to go back for more again and again. There’s also the nice touch where each track feels like its own miniature symphony piece, where its only an added bonus that they’re able to transition seamlessly into one another but could easily stand on their own as singles. There’s no doubting that this is an MCA release at first glance, but you won’t be disappointed either way. From hardened trve kvlt black metal veterans to entry level beginners, there’s a lot one can take from this album, especially fans of old Emperor and other of the old symphonic black metal releases. For me this has quickly become yet another favorite release from the label.