Sallow Moth – The Larval Hope Review

Creativity seems to spill out of some people. Garry Brents is one of those people who couldn’t stop the music and mythology pouring out of him, even if he wanted to. If you like metal (which of course you do, you smart and handsome reader) and original stories with rich world building, then Sallow Moth is here for you.

Garry “Cara Neir is My Main Band, But You Won’t Hear Much Blackened Screamo Here” Brents, despite his incredibly unwieldy middle name, has found time to create a world populated by celestial humanoid moths protecting and creating nature who fight against technology obsessed humans and androids. That seems like fertile enough ground, but Mr. Brents has also introduced a group of sorcerer moths, the Moss Deceptiva, who scavenge and thrive on chaos. So much chaos that the first two groups have formed an uneasy alliance to stop the threat.

The Mothfolk’s tale started with Moss Deceptiva in 2016 and continued with Deathspore in 2018. Both EPs are solid, but not especially memorable in their worship of classic Swedish death metal. However, Garry’s range of bellows, barks, and howls gave a little more personality to the proceedings, and the story is what seems to elicit the most excitement from the creator. The Larval Hope benefits from slightly improved production and more polish to the songs, and more adventurous elements to distinguish Sallow Moth from just another derivative band. Like the very best death metal, The Larval Hope clocks in at a relatively short 31 minutes and does not overstay its welcome.

Release Date: January 15, 2020. Label: Dead Red Queen Records.
You will have head over to Sallow Moth’s bandcamp page to read the story of the Sallow Moth and the world of the Mothfolk, which starts with an overview on the Deathspore page before moving to The Larval Hope’s expansive tale. With all that backstory, Sallow Moth could be forgiven for adding a lot more spoken word or samples, but only the short robot vocals that introduce “Ancient Grudge” give any hint that there’s a massive story behind the music. This is a concept album that rips, without ever feeling like an overwrought mess. After reading the lore and listening a few times through, character names and concepts began to emerge through the lyrics. For those that want to explore the story, there is a lot to enjoy here. For those that just want ripping death metal, there is a lot to enjoy here.

The Larval Hope is littered with homages to Swedish greats like Dismember and Carnage, as well as early Pestilence and dash of Atheist and Cynic. Guitars buzz with the proper HM-2 style pedal tone, and the drums (always a highlight from Mr. Brents) gleefully blast with a fat, dry snare tone. There are small touches of songwriting panache that make the album a worthy tribute and not another boring clone, such as the sublime solo buried in the mix at 2:58 of opener “Noxious Revival.” The playful swing that opens “Death Mutation Vs Metallurgic Summonings” only enhances the furious riffing that follows, before the swing returns and opens up and goes into off-kilter weirdness.

There are plenty of bands writing (often excellent) music about Norse mythology, Bible fanfiction (#Satan, #Hell, #Eeeeevil), Lord of the Rings, and many other fun and fictional worlds. Surely there is room for some truly original storytelling, created by the same person who will transmogrify that story into an engaging and passionate love letter to old school technical death metal. This sort of authentic and unique story doesn’t have the same built in audience, but the music will definitely resonate with metalheads who appreciate an homage without the strict rulebook of riffs and songwriting.

Garry “Dead Media Can’t Really Be Considered Dead If I Keep Making It” Brents, he of the truly ridiculous middle names, would love for you to buy cassettes, encourage him to finish the Mothfolk card game, and generally support Sallow Moth. If not for the excellent music and intriguing story, then for the fact that 50% of your purchase that will go to wildlife preservation organizations. The Cocoon has been liberated and the Moss Deceptiva defeated…for now. All hail the powerful and mysterious Sallow Moth!

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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