All reports about this album sounded promising. It was reported to be more melodic and gothic than some of their previous releases as well as containing songs in both English and Korean. It would be too easy to start comparing Moonshine's music to other bands, but they have such influence and standing within the Korean metal scene that it's only fair that they be judged on their own merits.
The album opens with a howl before a delicate yet dramatic keyboard part enters. The song builds up fairly quickly with a chugging guitar part followed by a higher lead part. The vocals start out as almost a whisper before Amon sings at his best.
(We) Die Cold features a female voice, belonging to a vocalist called Paranoid, which has a haunting quality when contrasted with Amon's deep voice. The song doesn't really have any peaks or troughs, rather it follows a steady pace. Being one of the longer songs on the album, you might think that this would become boring but there are so many layers to the music and the vocal effect is so interesting that it manages to keep the listener's interest throughout.
The pace of the album picks up with the third track, True Heart. Amon's voice shows a certain amount of emotion that hasn't been present in the opening songs of the album, and when you take a look at the lyrics it's easy to understand why there's so much emotion behind these words: it's a tale of a love lost, and it is portrayed beautifully. It's all of this that makes this one of the strongest, and by far the most touching, songs on the album.
The next song is pure metal: classic guitar riff, blast beats and screaming vocals. It comes so suddenly and after such a beautiful song that it shouldn't work but comparing it to its predecessor just highlights what is so good about the song. While Isolated does have gothic elements, it is definitely harking back to early Moonshine. It's easy to imagine that this would be a firm live favourite.
Chaos Lover is one of the few gothic metal songs that is in danger of getting stuck in your head. The chorus is so simple yet strangely catchy. The song as a whole has a Type O Negative feel, which can never be a bad thing. The next track, Dying In Beauty, opens with an almost tribal feel before going into an almost doom metal sounding guitar riff. The song even has hints of prog-rock in it with a typically prog keyboard line.
As the English language part of the album draws to an end, there is a moment of true greatness in the introduction to No Name. The song opens with a guitar part that is melodic yet powerful and it acts as a perfect entrance into the song. No Name seems to be an anti-war song yet shows some hope and support for the troops with lines such as "Lost soldiers never die, they just fade away in the field". For the chorus there is a reappearance for Paranoid and it is more than welcome. This is followed by the instrumental track Regret. The track acts as the perfect opportunity for the band to show off their musicianship rather than their vocals.
The final tracks on the album are Korean versions of Die Cold, True Heart, Dark Reception and Chaos Lover. The songs work just as well as their English versions and due to this would probably act as a good introduction to metal in Korean for outsiders.
This album definitely offers something unique and different from the gothic genre by fusing it with progressive and doom elements, which make it hard to pin down in all the right ways. This album could be used as a benchmark for future Korean metal bands and will doubtless inspire more young rock fans to start their own metal band.