Dreaming in a Dead Language


Jan. 11


With its full-length debut, Raleigh black-metal band Mo’ynoq seems poised to blast beyond the “local” categorization. In many ways, Dreaming in a Dead Language feels like a summation of everything black metal in 2019 can be. Rather than stagnating in purism and regressive politics, Mo’ynoq makes an aurally progressive fusion of genres, built on a sturdy foundation of gale-force guitars and tumultuous blast beats.

The band’s open approach to songwriting feels aligned with the metal zeitgeist. No matter how much its underground crypt keepers might whine, black metal has clearly emerged as a major force shaping the broader genre, well beyond the corridors of “trve kvlt” provincialism. See the hype and acclaim swelling around the new Mayhem biopic, Lords of Chaos, or the ways acts as disparate as Mount Eerie and Deafheaven have fused black metal’s screeching tremolo blasts to indie-folk and shoegazing post-rock, respectively. Poland’s Behemoth has evolved with black metal to become main-stage headliners by embracing arena-rock dynamics and KISS-worthy theatrics.

For Mo’ynoq, a seamless crossbreeding of genres leads to a powerful album. From the jazzy post-rock opening of “Carve My Name” to the bursting crescendo that follows, Mo’ynoq wrangles extremes with veteran panache. That same mastery of the song accommodates the incandescent melo-death solo on “These Once Tranquil Grounds” as easily as the Krallice-worthy math-metal bridge on “The Collector.”

Yes, Dreaming in a Dead Language has plenty of bitter shrieks and blast beats to satisfy the corpse-paint crowd. But the album is most compelling when it allows shades of grey to give dimension to the blackened din. That Mo’ynoq does this so ably is what makes its first proper full-length a standout, and a harbinger of great things to come.