A progressive death metal band from…Moldova? I don’t even know where the hell that is. Fortunately, Neuromist figure that their country probably isn’t on most metalheads’ radar, so they’ve released their full-length debut Move of Thought for free on their website. Of course, my cheap ass can’t turn down free stuff no matter where it comes from, so this album was worth a few listens to me based on that alone. And after listening to it…wow. Me likey Moldova.
First, you’re going to want to throw out all of your preconceived notions about free (and legal!) downloads before listening to Move of Thought. No, it doesn’t sound like it was recorded with a cellphone; it’s mixed properly, the sound isn’t fuzzy, etc. The level of musicianship is high, as usual for bands of this genre. It actually sounds like a professional band and not some garage act full of teenagers. You get the point!
Anyway, Move of Thought is a very interesting release in that it has only 7 tracks, but each of them are quite distinguishable from one another, given enough listens. This isn’t a case of the album not having “flow,” either; listening to it all the way through is no problem. Believe it or not, there aren’t many progressive death metal albums that I can say that about, so Neuromist definitely scores some points here.
Songwriting is an area in which Neuromist clearly excels. It takes a few listens to fully understand this, sort of a “why do I like this so much?” thing, but these guys really have a great feel for writing technical metal that’s not a total wankfest. This being progressive death metal, there are time changes flying everywhere, but Neuromist make the transitions between them seem so smooth, so natural, where you can just keep on enjoying the music and not have to stop to digest everything that’s being thrown at you. Aiding in this are drums that are not all over the place, allowing the bass to be turned up nice and LOUD, and, what’s that? Riffs! Plenty of great death metal riffs. While the guitar tone is pretty clean, there are moments on Move of Thought that assure you Neuromist know when to let loose and riff away, despite their wide range of progressive influences. Finally, the jazzy sections are melodic enough to be enjoyable and maybe even a bit fun, without disrupting the flow of the metal too much. Look to about the 1:15 mark of “Inner Voids”-see? Isn’t that a fun little doodle?
If there’s one complaint I have, it’s that the vocals on Move of Thought are very inconsistent. I wouldn’t say that Vladimir Ghilien is a bad vocalist, but it seems like he’s trying to do too much on this album; a Patrick Loisel (Augury) impression, if you will. To me, this album would seem a lot more cohesive if Ghilien stuck to the more guttural stuff instead of trying so many different styles.
Neuromist aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel here; Cynic and Atheist comparisons are inevitable when listening to Move of Thought. But hell, originality isn’t a big deal to me when a band can execute their ideas this well and then release it for free. So while you’re waiting for Pestilence to get their act together and Necrophagist to do SOMETHING, give Neuromist a shot.