Moonreich is a black metal band from Paris, France. They've previously released one EP and a full-length since the group's birth in 2008, but I've heard neither of them. This EP was published as a digital-only release in early 2012, but originally it was supposed to come out as a split with an other young French band Dark Managarm - at least if my information is correct.

This particular EP offers three lengthy songs' worth of rather traditional and un-original fast black metal. The songs blast forward with an occasional brief melody or a slower segment imbued to the compositions to give a break from the skull-cracking. The production is on a good level: the distortion sounds vast and raw, but still clear enough to show the band's intent for professional output. Even the brief melodies and discords have enough room to breathe and affect amidst the compositions.

I must applaud the band's strive to avoid the deepest pits of convention through making the songs consist of more variation than two verses and a chorus. For example, the almost eight-minute opener has various short segments with a slower and sharper leading melody standing out from the mass of distorted buzz and fast paces. These melodies are backed by the second guitar repeating some "theme riff" from the song's earlier moments, thus keeping these breathers from seeming irrational.

The cover song executes the original tune's riffs and melodies in a simpler and harsher manner, topped with black metal-vocals. I can understand the intention and humour in turning the song's dark message into the form of black metal, and this kind of poppier stuff is a nice bonus track, but... I can't see myself listening to it frequently simply because the original song is just way better and more personal, mystical and brooding. Moonreich's version is just another cover. Nothing special.

What bothers me about this EP is how tightly knit it is. Each riff, melody, beat and breather seems to have been set to place with dedicated measuring. While it gives a professional and dedicated image of the band as well, it does make the songs sound too safe and polished when noting the music's atmosphere of decapitating aggression, violence, and an unknown darkness looming behind the corner. The throaty croaks and growls follow too strict patterns as well, which is a bit disappointing as they seem to have the needed potency for greater boldness and versatility.

If the band wants to make this type of compositions work, they have to either let them breathe freer or to use less conventional riffs and twists. For example the second song's twisted ending riffs and its follower's almost waltz-y part are something the band needs more of to create an element of actual lunacy, disorder and originality. Perhaps more is to follow on the band's upcoming full-length, but either way, this EP isn't enough to convince me. The cover should've been left out as well, as it doesn't really do anything but mess up the EP's atmosphere.

6- / 10