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Sound Advice: The Demon Haunted World by Ol’ Time Moonshine

Ol' Time Moonshine has distilled something potent into its debut release.

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For months, Ol’ Time Moonshine has been our musical Polkaroo. If there was a show Moonshine was playing live, there was a perfectly good, usually unavoidable reason we couldn’t make it out to that particular night, including the night of the band’s CD release party on September 20, at the Round Venue in Kensington Market. Finally, at the launch of Tony Burgess’ stomach-churning zombie-esque apocalypse novel The n-Body Problem, we got to enjoy the group’s sludgy, metallic doom metal first-hand.

Ol’ Time Moonshine plays its metal thick and hard. The band has a penchant for deep grooves and compelling, infectious riff structures—characteristics that define its first release, The Demon Haunted World. These songs throb and writhe, unfurling their massive bulk with a languorous, lordly wallowing. Each track explores a different texture and type of heaviness, demonstrating that ponderous weight need not be simple. The opening, instrumental track, “There Be Dragons,” has a threatening, serpentine unravelling to it, while “March of the Trees” conjures nothing so much as Tolkien’s Ents, all oaken weight striding across verdant landscape. “Seven Deadly Suns” might be the highlight of the record, pulling the listener in and apart with chaotic gravitational forces. (You can listen to “Seven Deadly Suns” by clicking the sample, above.)

The band’s songs are inspired primarily by classic horror, genre fiction, and sci-fi. Rather than hoping to attain the slasher-like franticness of other thrash bands that draw lyrical inspiration from similar sources, Ol’ Time Moonshine tries to evoke the weight of terror, the crackle of electric tension that raises the hair on the back of your neck. The guitar tone vacillates between a bone-snapping crunch and a smoky ominousness that helps build a sense of dread in the most enjoyable way possible. Bill Kole’s vocals play off these textures perfectly. At times, he conjures Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein with his thick, anguished hollers; at other times, he sounds more like Scott Angelacos (of Bloodlet fame and, more recently, of Junior Bruce), curdled and gleefully bloodthirsty.

For fans of the weight of doom metal, the irreverence of stoner rock, and the sheer, relentless force of great heavy-metal riffs, Ol’ Time Moonshine are brewing up something potent in The Demon Haunted World. Don’t sleep on them as long as we did.

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