AMN Reviews: Musk Ox – Inheritance (2021; Bandcamp)

Musk Ox is billed as a chamber-folk trio, and consists of Nathanael Larochette on classical guitar, Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, and Evan Runge on violin. This is their third full-length album, and first since 2014.

Style-wise, I would peg them as rock-influenced chamber music, with all members having played with metal or progressive rock bands. Indeed, Weinroth-Browne and Runge trade riffs and power chords, while all three follow melodic lines that repeat and slowly develop. Larochette provides mostly plucked chords. The feel is cinematic, almost minimalist, and often resembles that of a chamber group performing covers of heavy rock bands. But, Inheritance in all new music, and fresh in that regard.

The opening self-titled suite is split into two parts totaling over 23 minutes. It exhibits a wide range of assertiveness, from the aggressive to the delicate. But keeping with rock themes, it moves along in a propelled fashion. Memorium explores slower and more melancholy themes, while Ritual covers similar ground though gradually grows heavier. Weightless caps things off with one of the more intricate blends of harmony on the album played at a deliberate pace before evolving into a rock-like set of rhythms.

In sum, Inheritance is a more than worthwhile effort for anyone who wished that their favorite prog-metal group would just break down and play classical music.