The Moon is a Dead World is one of the greatest albums ever made. It blew me away upon release, and it continues to do so to this day. It’s something of a shame, though, that this classic of progressive post-hardcore has been out of print since, well, since the wonderful Level Plane Records closed. At the time of writing, CD copies on Discogs are going for over £20; and vinyl for over £60. Sure, it might be on Spotify, but that’s no substitute for actually having a copy that sounds the way the album should, and I’ve been hoping for years that someone would reissue it. Well, good news, because the wonderful people at Repeater Records are reissuing the album on vinyl, with pre-orders starting on Friday 12th October.
You may recognise that name; they’re previously reissued classics including Funeral Diner’s The Underdark and the self-titled album by City of Caterpillar. So, it’s safe to say that the label have form in picking out brilliant albums and giving them the reissue treatment they deserve. The same is true of The Moon is a Dead World; releasing on double vinyl, the album has been remastered by Josh Bonati (who has worked on the mastering of a huge amount of albums, including for Zola Jesus, Pharmakon, and Uniform), and will include an updated insert and download. The white vinyl version will also have alternative artwork, and both artwork versions will have intentional ringwear, to help mark them out as reissues rather than original copies.
If you’re unfamiliar with Gospel though, then let me explain a little why I’m writing about this reissue, and the album in general, in such excited terms (at which point, I should also point out that I wrote an article on the album last year for Broken Amp, simply because I went to my editor and said “this album is incredible and deserves coverage despite its age, please let me write about it”). Released in 2005, The Moon is a Dead World didn’t make much of an impact on release; too prog for hardcore kids, too hardcore for prog fans, it had no natural audience or scene, save for those who like thier music ambitious and challenging. Situated somewhere between Converge, Circle Takes the Square, King Crimson and Yes, it’s an emotionally charged exploration of what hardcore and prog can be, that’s as fuelled by sarcasm as it is a desperate desire for catharsis and emotional bloodletting. Just listen to central track ‘Golden Dawn’, and you’ll hear exactly what I mean. It’s a song that’s so close to perfect, that it risks making almost all other music obsolete.
The Moon is a Dead World is an album full of superlative performances, whether that be in the restless guitars; the sci-fi keyboard atmospherics; or, most notably of all, the drumming. Every member put in an excellent performance on The Moon is a Dead World, but the drumming of Vinny Rosebloom remains among the most impressive I have ever heard, regardless of genre. Converge’s Ben Koller may have redefined the idea of what hardcore drumming could be with Jane Doe, but Vinny’s performance on The Moon is a Dead World surpasses even that masterclass.
And yet, The Moon is a Dead World has, for a long time, felt like an album that has been over-looked; loved by a small number of devoted fans (i.e., pretty much anyone who heard it the first time around), but it never made the impact it should have. Hopefully this reissue helps rectify that; I cannot emphasise enough just how thrilling this album remains, and were it to be lost to the ages, then that would be a genuine tragedy for music. It still sounds forward-thinking and challenging today, as exciting as it was upon release, possessing a truly unique sound that has no obvious peer.
Even if you’re lucky enough to hold an original copy, this one is still worth getting hold of – and if you don’t already own it, then this is a great opportunity to get hold of a record that, even now, sounds unique and head of its time. I am so happy that Repeater Records are reissuing it, as this album deserved to be absolutely huge.
Pre-orders for the reissue of The Moon is a Dead World are due to go live on 12 October 2018 at 10am Pacific Time on Repeater Record’s Bigcartel page, with 300 copies on white vinyl (pre-order only) and 700 on black vinyl. Follow Repeater Records on Facebook for more news and details, including on European distribution. This is absolutely not to be missed.