Moments To Remain

It’s an interesting statement that ACT OF CREATION make in their press release that Moments To Remain can be seen as a continuation of the last three ACT OF CREATION albums, but it should still be seen as a stand-alone release”. That’s reassuring, for the German melodic death outfit are a new band to me, despite their existence in various shapes and forms for nearly two decades. It’s been six years since vocalist Jessica Nicole Kork joined the band, adding her savage delivery to the band’s most recent release, 2020’s The Uncertain Light, which received some positive reviews from what I could source on the internet.

Moments To Remain carries a weighty and ambitious concept. The intriguing album cover sees a young woman sitting in lamp light on the edge of a waterside across from a big city, whilst a clock face is fading in the water. This figure is apparently the same one who was reborn on The Uncertain Light, although now she has matured. The album carries a concept of reviewing an entire day and thinking about certain topics whilst sitting by the water. Okay, whilst I’m not sure that this is the most robust of themes, I’m prepared to run with it.

On first listen, one done without reading the blurb, I wasn’t making the connections or picking up the threads that lace the album together. My impression was of a powerful release, edging on the extreme side of metal, but with ample melody and expansive writing. After further listens, that remains my overall view of the band, who are seriously competent musicians. Drummer Dirk Meyer-Berhorn puts in a solid shift, although he’s now been replaced by Sebastian Nienaber. It’s a fine swansong for him to conclude his time with the band.

The intention of first track Awake is to illustrate the transition from sleep to consciousness, and this is captured well in the opening moments. From a dreamy intro to a fiery burst of blast beats and savage walls of guitar riffs, it’s an intense opening that is aided by the ferocious growls of Kork, who puts in hell of a shift on the album. She’s able to capture the balance of screaming roars that are decipherable, something not a lot of bands this genre manages.

As the album progresses, the story unfolds. There’s no let up on the aural barrage, and if you dislike harsh female vocals, then you may want to give this album the swerve. Personally, the aggressive style of tracks like Egoist, with its powerful, chunky riffs and blend of cleans and growls works well, the cohesion of the band evident.

Mid-album finds the protagonist of the story by the waterside. This is the second half of the album, and it’s linked by the short instrumental Cry For A Peacecrow. Not only does this cleverly link the two sides of the music, but it also provides a short period of calm which allows for reflection and pause. Drink it deep, for it doesn’t last long.

There’s a natural flow to the album. It’s organically constructed, flows intuitively and fits together neatly. As stated, it works as a stand-alone piece of work, and the tracks are also sufficiently robust to stand individually as well as working in a collective work.

When ACT OF CREATION really get moving, there is a genuine wall of powerful sound that hits you hard. Dying Inside which starts the second half of the album is blisteringly heavy, and it’s followed by the bone-crushing hammer blow of Confront The Truth. I’m sure that with more plays, this is an album that will allow the door to the band’s creative world to be opened wider. As it is, as you return to the stages of sleep which bring the album full circle on penultimate song Agonizing Slumber, which is slightly differently constructed, there’s a sense of a job well done. Yes, it works in many ways. But music is subjective. Moments To Remain allows you to take your individual journey with the band’s story as the guide. Take the path, follow it as you wish, and appreciate 52-minutes of thunderous and complex melodic death metal.

Paul Hutchings