Shrouded in mystery and earning respect within the notoriously picky doom underground with a stream of releases that have included demos, splits, EPs and full-length albums, Moss have been unusually quiet in recent times. Not only has it been about five years since their last album, Sub Templum, but it’s been no fewer than three years since the Tombs Of The Blind Drugged EP and even the group’s last release, the live album Never Say Live, dates back to 2010.
Having become one of the UK’s best-loved doom acts alongside the mighty Electric Wizard, it seems fair to say that this, the band’s third full-length record, is an eagerly awaited release. For its part, Horrible Night bears a definite sense of swagger within its morbid low frequencies, its often single-minded and unfussy approach saying much for the group’s belief in their ability and presence.
Opening with the almost-title track Horrible Nights, the album engulfs the listener in the all-consuming power of the riff, the warm tones providing little comfort as the songs quickly head nose-first into the darkest depths, the steady percussion of drummer Chris Chantler keeping the hypnotic repetition of the rhythm guitars in check while the feedback-drenched leads and tortured vocals scream out from the darkest corners of the abyss.
Not that vocalist Olly Pearson is literally screaming as he did on, say, Blind Drugged; for the most part his voice is in singing mode, albeit one that can best be described as either lost or despairing, sometimes he manages to be both. Horrible Night is a somewhat less aggressive and malevolent work overall than we might have expected, having stripped away some of the more sinister colourings of its predecessor – for better or worse – for a somewhat ‘purer’ vision.