From my rotten skull, trees will grow and I am in them!

-- Moss Upon The Skull --

19/11/2018
Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Death Metal
Progressive Metal
Album artists:
Jo Willems Vocals
Jef Van de Weghe Guitars, vocals, keyboards
Jense Philips Drums
Mathijs Provoost Bass

Review written by Glenn Van Bockstaele.

Moss Upon The Skull is a Belgian progressive death metal band formed in 2010. In 2014 they brought out a single called “Imperial Summoning” which they followed up with an EP named “The Scourge Of Ages” in 2016. Last month this band from Brussels came back with their first full album, “In Vengeful Reverence.” The album is released through Italian record label I, Voidhanger Records and was sent to us by guitarist Jef Van De Weghe! Let’s shred this one!

The album opens up with “Reverse Celebration,” which has a classic death metal sound but with many dark progressive influences, similar to early Opeth. This unconventional death metal sound continues in the second track, “Disintegrated.” The next song, “Impending Evil,” is a bit longer but much more progressive inspired tune, showing off Moss Upon The Skull’s musical prowess. Track 4, “Lair Of The Hypocrite,” replaces its predecessor’s progressiveness with speed and pounding aggression. The fifth song, “Serving The Elite,” slows things down again and treats you to some dark melodic riffs and black metal inspired vocals. Up next is “Peristalith,” a tune that starts off aggressively followed by a lengthy melodic cool down before speeding things back up for an explosive blast beat filled finale. A perfect example of death and progressive metal going hand in hand! 

Then comes “In Vengeful Reverence’s” title track, similar in style to “Serving The Elite,” another dark melodic tune with Jo’s grunts being echoed by Jef’s gentle whispers as well as the same type of speedups and slowdowns as in the aforementioned song. The eighth track, “The Serpent Scepter” is the longest, slowest and most threatening tune and feels quite doom metal in my opinion. A standout track on the album because of its engaging and highly atmospheric sound. The penultimate song, “Spheres Of Malevolence,” is a very short ride that gets things back up to full speed and finally there’s “Unseen, Yet Allseeing” that keeps up the death metal pounding but with a great guitar solo and an eerie chant in the middle of the song and finally wrapping up with acoustic guitar.

All things considered, Moss Upon The Skull’s debut album is an enjoyable release but the album eventually gets a little repetitive for my tastes. There’s a consistent tone of progressive death metal with raw grunting vocals and headbanging beats as well as some occasional tempo changes and sweet guitar solos but it doesn’t quite venture into truly uncharted territory. The music packs a punch but I feel it still needs a bit more finesse and power in order to fully come to fruition. In the end, this is a competent death metal album that’s certainly worth checking out if you like old-school death metal mixed with progressive influences such as stuff from Morbid Angel and Pestilence! Here’s the release’s final track, “Unseen, Yet Allseeing!

70/100