The Black Moriah have crashed down from the icy foothills of the Rocky Mountains to deliver their latest album Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins. Taking inspiration from legendary acts such as Bathory, Kreator, Motörhead, Slayer, and Venom, whilst furiously enveloping the listener in a cacophony of blackened thrash, the nine tracks on Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins blister relentlessly; with each track attempting to outdo the other in terms of sheer hell inducing ferocity – all the time painting a landscape of ol’ fashioned frontier violence and revenge drawn straight from the Wild West.
“Echo of Hooves” and “Blessed by Buzzards” are highlights and provide the perfect snapshot of Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins concept which inhabits a world where the coyote’s howl and the full moon lights the way. Not that this concept is new to The Black Moriah, with this third album very much in keeping with their previous offering, 2019’s Road Agents of the Blast Furnace.
Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins certainly solidifies The Black Moriah‘s individuality and their ability to conjure a distinctive, yet charred, wild west wildfire. Unfortunately for The Black Moriah they’ve released their 3rd album at exactly the same time as Hellripper’s Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags.
Why should that matter?
Simple. As efficiently nasty as Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins is, it pales in comparison to Hellripper’s modern blackened thrash classic in the making that remains so fresh in our minds. An unfair comparison to make this may be (and everything should really be assessed on its own merit) but there’s the rub.
Sure, “Endless Prairie” provides some humorous respite but its cowboy-infused jovial nature and croaky spoken-word delivery, while entertaining enough, ultimately confuses. It is unique though! As is much of Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins which attempts to transport icy cold blackened thrash to the dusty, scorched-earth of the ol’ West but doesn’t quite hit the same sweet spot as Spiritworld‘s Deathwestern (2022), which trod a similar, dusty path. 6/10
The Black Moriah‘s Desert Hymns & Funeral Grins was released on February 17th, 2023 via Folter Records.