Prog-rock/prog-metal lyrics can often be a little too clever for their own good with bands waxing lyrical on subjects that have no real relevance to the everyday lives of their listeners, ok we all love a little escapism from time to time but what in god's name IS an "Octavarium" (Dream Theater)) and WHY were Yes so "Close To The Edge"? Musically prog is up there with jazz and classical music, complex intricate arrangements and grooves played by musicians at the absolute apex of their game and it is the music, and those high levels of musicianship associated with prog, that were the catalyst for many of us to initially get into the genre. French trio Moozoonsii, Basile Chiariello (guitar); Fabien Hervé (bass) and Matthieu Bellemere (drums/percussion), are not going to regale you with tales of purple wizards and floating islands in the sky the Nantes based unit are all about the music and their latest release "Inward" is some of the best instrumental heavy prog you are likely to hear this year, next year or any damn year.
Ok, this is prog so we do not totally escape the whole "concept" thing, "Inward" does have a theme around which the albums six instrumentals are based but then Desert Psychlist suspects that having an idea to structure your musical ideas around gives a musician something to work towards. and as concepts go Moozoonsii's for "Inward" is pretty straightforward, a journey through the mangroves and encounters both good and bad with its residents therein. It makes sense then that first song out of the bag is one entitled "Mangrove" and for first time listeners to Moozoonsii what an introduction to their music this is! "Mangrove" opens with sampled bird calls and Latin flavoured percussion accompanied by deep booming bass but then the guitar comes in and everything goes absolutely (in an extremely good way) mental! There is nothing straightforward about Chiariello's approach to playing his guitar, his style is an unconventional one that sees him attacking his strings in sporadic bursts rather than the usual up/down patterns, his chord and lead work has an unstructured structure throughout "Inward" that on first listen sounds a little dissonant and untamed but soon becomes evident that these elements of dissonance and rawness are not arrived at because of a lack of technique but because that is exactly the sound he is aiming for. Chiariello's co-conspirators Hervé and Bellemere are no slouches either Hervé more than matches his guitarist for instrumental prowess his bass a mixture of boom and growl adds a depth to songs like "Wudùm", "Titanoboa" and "Venom" that many bassists would struggle to emulate and Bellemere is, on the evidence of this album alone, one of finest drummers currently inhabiting the underground rock scene, a drummer able to shift through the gears with consummate ease his polyrhythmic patterns, fills and salvo's a masterclass in prog drumming.
© 2022 Frazer Jones