MOONCITADEL’s origins can be traced back to the earlier Empire of Tharaphia, in 2007. Over the next year, the band would release a pair of demos and then a split LP with the well-regarded Drowning the Light in 2009. Silence would follow for the next number of years, as the band would ponder their next direction, with refinement and altering of vision set to take place.
It finally came in 2014, as the new moniker (and direction) came with MOONCITADEL. Indeed aptly monikered, MOONCITADEL soon plotted a course for the cosmos with a spectral sort of black metal entirely not of this earth. The first demo under that moniker, 2016’s As Nightwind Embraced and the Shadows Caressed, surely showed that this refinement was favorable to the extreme: forgotten realms verily opened before the listener, an impossibly ancient yet nonetheless refreshing sound that stoked the dreamiest fires of the black metal imagination. A two-song EP, Moon Calls to Wander the Winter’s Majesty, followed two years later, an all-too-brief assertion of MOONCITADEL’s growing superiority.
At long last, the full fathom of MOONCITADEL’s now-transcendent powers arrives with the band’s long-awaited debut album, Night’s Scarlet Symphonies. If past MOONCITADEL recordings bore titles evocative of their respective contents, then surely Night’s Scarlet Symphonies trumps them all: here is a bountiful feast of splendorous, widescreen black metal mysticism that’s reverent of the mid ’90s whilst channeling energies new and untold. Everything about MOONCITADEL’s debut album – spiraling melodicism, folkloric atmosphere, impassioned performance, engrossing totality – maximizes the duo’s previous works to their fullest potential, all threaded together by a never-too-raw soundfield that heightens these elements further. Which is to say nothing of its attendant song titles; over the course of its impossibly vast 47-minute runtime, some of Night’s Scarlet Symphonies include “Ablaze My Heart With Falling Stars,” “Nightwind was the Passage Between Worlds,” “Whispering Cry of Magick Undying,” and especially “Monumental Silver Thorns” all conveying this (monumental, silvery, magickal) headspace.
A new modern classic of old mystical black metal has hereby been born with MOONCITADEL’s Night’s Scarlet Symphonies!
Werewolf Records (Finland), 2020.