MOONLIGHT SORCERY – Horned Lord Of The Thorned Castle
October 11, 2023, a month ago
Finland’s Moonlight Sorcery (love that name) come in strong with their full-length debut, Horned Lord Of The Thorned Castle. Derived plenty of enjoyment from their debut EP, Piercing Through The Frozen Eternity, and while was disappointed by their second EP, Nightwind: The Conqueror From The Stars, The Finns have put it together on this wild ride I’m dubbing blackened power metal.
Dan Swanö does a masterful job at the mixing board as Moonlight Sorcery maintains that arctic, cold feel present on their first EP while also having this sense of adventure and uplifting attitude. These guys can play – the soloing is neoclassical, shredding, while also melodic – there’s hints of Malmsteen and Vai present. There’s an Immortal vibe in the lyrics and Ruttomieli’s icy shrieks stand toe-to-toe with the absolute best. The frozen black metal atmosphere is amplified by this power metal wonder; listeners will definitely be reminded of Children Of Bodom, Wintersun’s first album, and Stormkeep.
The adrenaline pumps with the nine tracks going at an up-tempo pace and the wizardry of the instrumentation makes different aspects of the rhythmic patterns and melodies stick out when re-listening. The way the music jumps out, it’s not hard to discern these guys had a ton of fun playing and recording this record. While they could hone in on a few of their ideas, the energy and memorability is off the charts. Big things are in store for them if they can continue the momentum.