You are walking through a dark and mysterious forest. It’s the middle of winter, so there is snow on the ground and a chill to the air. The forest sprawls across the base of a mountain and extends far up the side of it. The soundtrack to your walk? Moon’s “Caduceus Chalice”, a black metal demo that harkens back to the glory days of the genre.
The demo kicks off with the atmospheric “In Shadow” before kicking into “Forest Samhain”, a song that’ll make the listener feel like they’ve stepped back in time to 1992. Moody keyboards, wall of fuzz guitars, and vocals that sound like cries of agony from inside a deep, dank cave set the tone for the rest of the demo. Next is the ten minute long “Beneath”, which starts with some nice pummeling (as pummeling as the horrible production allows) drums and buzz saw guitars before the keyboard and vocals come in. The song slows down for about thirty seconds before that nice double bass starts up again. At about the halfway point, the guitars change to a wall of white noise for about a minute before we’re back to the main riff. It’s a truly epic song and the highlight of the demo. “Monastery” recalls Burzum at their most classic for the first half, but suddenly changes gears and becomes a moody gothic piece, complete with choir vocals. From there we go into “Caduceus” which is a slow burner with vocals that sound like they’re coming from a soul burning in the depths of Hell. Finally we hit the near twenty minute long closer, “Chalice”. It starts with a clean guitar riff before turning into funeral dirge, with beautiful keyboards and more agonized vocals. It almost brings to mind My Dying Bride, with the keyboards and slow, doomy riff. A choir kicks in near the fourteen minute mark, adding a shit-ton of atmosphere to a song that’s already oozing with it. Soon, everything except the keyboards and choir are stripped away and the song builds back up to that fuzzy doom riff while maintaining the ethereal atmosphere of the keys and choir. A truly epic and beautiful closing to an epic and beautiful demo.