Y’know, the first thing that struck me about this CD was the packaging. See, I’ve got a whole binder full of CDRs from a buncha local bands from back in my days at CKLN—including a few from Diablo Red, this outfit’s spiritual predecessor—so when I get something new from someone nearby, it’s usually not very aesthetically pleasing. But the second album from Toronto heavy rockers Ol’ Time Moonshine is very easy on the eyes, with its thick, gatefold digipack that has all the lyrics printed on the inside folds—CD booklet be damned! It’s pretty clear that Salt of the Earth Records spent a pretty penny on production costs, and from my standpoint, ‘twas money well spent.
Like a sci-fi franchise on the big screen, this record comes in three parts, complete with interludes and spoken word intros. But once the riffs kick in on “Lycanthroposphere,” they come in hard and fuzzy like Fu Manchu… in space. By contrast, “Back to Zero” reminds me more of The Obsessed (I’m thinking a tune like “Streetside” here), while “Forced Reentry” sounds kinda like non-shitty 80’s metal—Tesla or Queensryche, perhaps?
“Raven vs. Hawk” starts Episode II on a groovy note, with a mid-paced pit-stomping riff, though this one also throws in a coupla slow ‘n heavy sections for good measure, including one particular lighter-raising passage around the 3:30 mark. “Queen of Sorrows” even out-doomifies “Back to Zero,” with the pleasantly unexpected addition of honky-tonk piano on one occasion, before the mellow, spacey interlude “Lady of Light” throws some cello into the mix.
“Wizard Dust” gets the final chapter off to a rollicking start, more Wizard Eye than Electric Wizard, while “…And Magick” slows things down to a snail’s pace, a southern-style doomer with shades of Diablo Red. “The Elusive Truth” actually throws a blackened-doom style riff at ya off the top, ending things on a very intriguing note.
A truly compelling tale throughout its 42-minute runtime… but I’m hoping they don’t follow this up with a prequel. Sometimes the best franchises don’t know when to quit! 😉