In Greek mythology, Moros is one of the offspring of Nyx, the goddess of the night. He is said to be the personification of doom and his duty is to lead mortals to their ghastly end. It’s eerily fitting for Seattle experimenters Eye of Nix to use “Moros” as their debut full-length’s title, considering its sole purpose is to drive listeners to their deadly fate. Through genre-bending, sprawling passages of aural witchcraft, Moros leaves the adventurous metal fan in a constant state of awe and unaware as they plummet towards death.
Moros features a striking amalgamation of doom, crust, noise rock, post-punk, Goth, black metal and everything in between. It’s like taking early Swans, the most abrasive of Oxbow‘s material, the moodiest and most experimental of Neurosis, blending it together and torturing it for hours on end. But even that doesn’t quite scratch the surface of what Eye of Nix is trying to do here. At the heart of these torturous compositions is vocalist Joy Von Spain and her impressive range. The sounds emitted from her mighty lungs ranges from banshee shrieks, haunting, Jarboe-esque ululations and soaring operatic tendencies. Her voice is the icing on this forward-thinking metal cake and makes the album an epic affair.
The 35-minute record begins with the lurching “Elysium Elusive”. Quiet yet sinister guitar riffs march together with lumbering bass and thunderous percussion as Von Spain’s vocals flutter over the sullen procession. After about two minutes the track explodes in a flurry of grimy tremolo picking and hellacious blast beats in a caricature of black metal, then quickly transitions to a d-beat infused, crusty beatdown. The album only propels the listener further down the rabbit hole as it progresses. The album’s centerpiece is the seven-minute stunner “Veil”. Etheral, choral melodies briefly introduce the track before icy chords and galloping drumming come into view. Sludgy, highly distorted and dissonant riffs burrow out from whatever subterranean kingdom they spawned from to take control of the verses, and split time with the gloomy, clean sections. After a cacophonous assault, the song transitions to a minimal clean section reminiscent of something from Children of God era Swans. This section bleeds into a final march of distorted, yet melancholic and melodic chords that is oddly soothing as well as crushing. The insanity-laced “Optime Vero” ends the record on a high note. Von Spain delivers some haunting incantations as the guitars quietly writhe underneath. After over 90 seconds of buildup, the song explodes into a procession of dissonant riffs that are completely cataclysmic. Incendiary drumming sets everything ablaze while the bulky bass flexes its muscles and the guitars unleash the beating masochistic listeners have been waiting for. The album fittingly ends in an eruption of harsh noise, leaving ear drums to bleed profusely.
Eye of Nix are in a league all of their own and have crafted one of the most interesting releases of 2015. Moros is a strange, dark and destructive record that defies categorization. The maddening, churning, claustrophobic doom and gloom Eye of Nix create on this record will satisfy those looking for a new sonic twist. The metal outsider will be so enthralled by these blackened compositions, he or she won’t even feel it when Moros drags them to Hades.