“There’s a lot of music out today that seems soulless. I can’t connect with it. But everyone seems to think almost every band is ‘good.’ Are they? They don’t seem like they’re talking about anything.”
That’s FINAL GASP vocalist and guitarist Jake Murphy talking about a problem that his own band definitely doesn’t have. On their debut full-length, Mourning Moon, the Boston-based death rock dealers take on the weightiest of topics. “The whole record has to do with loss,” Murphy explains. “The title comes from that anxious feeling you have when you go to bed and you’re thinking about everything all at once. You’re regretting decisions you’ve made—or didn’t make—and you’re up all night thinking about it.”
A harrowing journey through all things Hardcore, Metal, and Goth, Mourning Moon drags the listener through the dark in 12 thrilling tracks, and drives a stake right into the heart of 2023's most compelling releases.
The foundation for Mourning Moon was built by two EPs—2019’s Baptism of Desire and 2021’s Haunting Whisper—both of which were born in the November-coming-fire of Glenn Danzig’s death rock legacy. In fact, Murphy and his bandmates—drummer Eric Lester, synth player Alex Consentino (a.k.a. dungeon synth overlord Ozeregroth), bassist Sean Rose, and guitar player James Forsythe—earned a reputation for drenching themselves in fake blood onstage.
“We’re obviously very influenced by Samhain,” Murphy acknowledges. “It really comes through on our earlier records, and it was fucking fun. It’s still fun. But with this album, we were just writing what felt right. There’re tons of different influences, like Killing Joke and Die Kreuzen, even Echo & The Bunnymen and SSD. But we’re not really thinking about other bands. We feel like we’ve tapped into something that’s our own.”
Opener "Climax Infinity" sets the tone for what's to come: the undeniable hardcore swagger of the Boston-based band is immediate as drums and guitars stomp and riff against one another, while Murphy howls - "watch as the way it falls, your loss of control, from whispered incantations, burnt down for your invocation!"
“That song is about being stuck inside,” Murphy explains. “It’s just about depression grabbing hold of you. You think you’re getting closer to getting out of this hole, but you get shoved back down because you have to deal with something you’ve been putting off for a while.”
Elsewhere, the hook-laden title track explodes out of the underground and aims straight for the stars. Lead single "Mourning Moon'' is downright catchy. A song professing eternal love through a lens clad in black and morbid as ever, “Mourning Moon” somehow drips in melancholy while being propelled forward by a cavernous beat.
“That song is about a past relationship with someone who is no longer of this earth,” Murphy explains. “Wishing that you said things differently and had been more present in your time that you had with them. That song means the most to me.”
Mourning Moon showcases expert songwriting and lyrical crafting, snarling and barking through the harsher, heavier punked out moments in "Blood and Sulfur" and "Frozen Glare" while flexing arena chops on the tremendous "Temptation" and utterly despairing "The Vanishing".
“Temptation” expands upon the theme of the title track with a nasty pinched-harmonic riff and undead Pet Sematary atmosphere. “It’s about the aftereffects of ‘Mourning Moon,’ like going through all the stages of grief,” Murphy offers. “It’s about holding onto those feelings like a possession. The video has a bit of a demonology undertone to it: "You bring this person back, but it’s not what you thought it was gonna be.”
Closer “Rows of Heaven” is a deeply personal song with roots in Murphy’s own family tree. “That one is about my mother,” he says. “She grew up very religious, and her parents were very strict. She dealt with alcoholism for a while, and they thought she was possessed by a fucking demon. My grandparents did her dirty, to put it frankly. The song is saying that your family doesn’t have to be something that defines you.”
FINAL GASP recorded Mourning Moon in Philadelphia with famed producer Arthur Rizk (Ghostmane, Cavalera Conspiracy, Poison Ruin). “Eric and I took a bus at three in the morning from Boston to Philly and got there at like 8am,” Murphy recalls. “We basically tracked right off the bat. It was kind of a challenge to see if we could even get it done. But we did, and we love how it sounds. We’re all really proud of it.”
“I hope when people listen to this record, they feel something and actually get something out of it rather than just putting it on as background music,” he adds. “I feel like it’s something that everyone can relate to.”
Mourning Moon proves to be one of the most inventive journeys this side of the genre in recent times- now, FINAL GASP are ready to emerge from the shadows, and step into the forefront of extreme music's new guard.
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