Starting as In Vitro before a French punk band claimed the rights to that name, Moros Eros have a lot going against them, and their “what were they thinking” second choice for a name (Moros is the Greek god of night’s son while Eros is the Greek god of love) is perhaps the least of the band’s worries.
Firstly, signing with Victory Records, a label that has long-standing connections with hardcore/emo community, is probably not a smart career move if your band isn’t musically aligned with their existing roster. Secondly, the band’s youthfulness has the potential to frighten off any real credibility for an album that finds the conflict between good and evil as its primary theme. I’m guessing the members are in their late teens/early twenties (judging from the sleeve photo) and it’s questionable whether such weighty topics can be taken seriously from a band so young.
Personal hurdles aside, Moros Eros’ debut album, I Saw The Devil Last Night And Now The Sun Shines Bright (worry #3), clamors with a youthful exuberance that would make a veteran rock outfit jealous and with a precision of musicians with years of rehearsal time under their belt. Alternating between Mars Volta‘s prog explorations and Cursive‘s most challenging moments, Moros Eros is a quartet of impressive potential, wonderfully captured by producer, John Naclerio.
Lead singer/guitarist Zach Tipton is clearly the band’s creative focal point; despite his questionable lyrical subject matter and vocal range that channels both Cedric Bixler-Zavala and (at times) Rivers Cuomo. His real talent lies in his guitar abilities. Forgoing traditional power-chords, Tipton relies on crisp, staccato punctuations that allow bassist Dj Schultz and outstanding drummer Bobby Theberge to forcibly drive the songs ahead.
I Saw The Devil isn’t as pretentious as the title suggests, but there’s a lot of room for growth as the album seems torn between two competing directions: to rock hard or to rock smart. In order to do both, Tipton should have focused his efforts on topics that aren’t as contrived as the ones here. Whenever he loses steam trying to be clever, he tends to get lazy (“Mama says Satan’s got a heart of gold/Papa says Jesus got a heart of stone”) and the results typically demonstrate his limited real world experience.
With these deficiencies, you have to wonder why Tipton avoided subjects that capture both his youthfulness and his sanguinity. I mean, kids in the suburbs of Atlanta don’t normally consider the duality of good and evil, do they? I always assumed that when you’re young you tend to view yourself as immortal with a bravado big enough to start some shit with both Jesus and Satan. But here he is, as early as track one (“Today Is The Day”), pleading to the prince of darkness how he doesn’t want to “go down underground.”
While musically appealing, the conundrum for Moros Eros is what band are they trying to be? Too melodic to be considered metal, too heavy-handed to appeal to the traditional fans of “indie” rock, they’ll face an uphill battle trying to reach a meaningful audience that’s accepting of their notable musical talents.
Here’s hoping that on their next album, Moros Eros start to really act their age and start writing about what they know. There’s a chance that if they start spending as much time on their lyrical themes as they obviously have on building their intricate arrangements, they might manage to figure out what kind of band they are while turning some heads at the same time. Because as it stands now, it would take a deal with the devil for them to get noticed.
Moros Eros – “Today Is The Day”