AOTY 2022


The Soft Moon - Criminal
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2018 Ratings: #358 / 878
User Score
Based on 133 ratings
2018 Ratings: #585
Liked by 1 person
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Northern Transmissions
Crafting a sound and taking chances don’t always go hand in hand so elegantly, but The Soft Moon does both with room to spare. While previous albums have had a few rough spots along the way, Luis Vasquez and company create a consistent record that explores their sound in equal parts ambitious but invigorating writing.

Most of the risks he takes on Criminal pay off, and the record is among his most confident statements as an artist.


Luis fuses himself - his voice, his riffs, his beats - with mechanical sounds throughout ‘Criminal’, the most complete result of his vision he’s committed to record thus far.

There are no easy answers or happy endings here; as Vasquez grows more skilled at expressing his pain, he delivers his bleakest -- and most cohesive -- music yet.
God Is in the TV
However smudged or besmirched his soul is, the beauty of this album must surely go some way to exonerating him.
The 405
Despite the album adopting a confessional structure, the characteristic elements of The Soft Moon’s aggression remains. And it all sounds dirtier, gritter and angrier than ever.
Drowned in Sound
Ultimately, this may well be Vasquez's most assured record to date as The (long promising) Soft Moon. He is an artist who with this act has been earmarked as a potential star in the indie universe, and this record gives him his best chance of achieving that yet.
The Line of Best Fit

In Criminal, Luis Vasquez has constructed an album dark and bleak in nature, an exploration that sees him turn his attention to creating hard hitting industrial rock in order to deal with all he's lived through. It's a record of which he can be proud.

A.V. Club

Criminal evokes all of those classic, angry goth teen touchstones. And while that poetry-journal melodrama grows a tad exhausting by album’s end, there are plenty of deliciously bitter pleasures here for anyone who similarly loves brooding in that blacked-out, candlelit bedroom of the mind.


Criminal thrashes with an anger that the Soft Moon has never fully indulged before.

Crack Magazine

The inside of Luis Vasquez’s head is hardly the comfiest place to be shown around. But if you can bear the intensity, what is revealed on Criminal is stark in its honesty.


Criminal is not an album designed as background music. Nor is it an album meant as escapist entertainment. It is, rather, a strong statement of how personal pain can shape art and, further, a reminder that, amidst all the turmoil of its inspiration, beauty can be found in aggression and catharsis.

Loud and Quiet
‘Criminal’ finds Vasquez plumbing the depths of his self-hatred, which isn’t always as pleasant as it sounds.
FLOOD Magazine

The Soft Moon is, in a sense, the new gothic for a new century—paranoid, solitary, and powerfully visceral.




Definitely a solid industrial rock album, especially on the production front. As of now, it feel it's a bit repetitive as it goes on, and I think his vocals could stand to be more dynamic (I wouldn't mind hearing a few screams/harsh vocals over some of these instrumentals, actually), but The Soft Moon is definitely onto something here. I think I'm going to try Criminal out a few more times when I'm feeling particularly moribund over the next few weeks. I can see this one being a grower. (EDIT: ... read more


Buffalo Staple made me check it out. I like it so far




This album came out earlier in the year and it took me forever to finally get around to listening to it. In a lot of ways its quite the standout release of 2018, given that very few still experiment with a more dark, industrial sound like this. It largely is a successful sound, and plays well; like something you would hear in a dimly lit, underground goth dance club. However, the play value eventually diminishes as the sound remains pretty consistent and starts to drag by the time you've ... read more


Easily one of my favorite records of the year, it's been a while since an album resonated with me this much
(Original Rating: 90)

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Track List

  1. Burn
  2. Choke
  3. Give Something
  4. Like a Father
  5. The Pain
  6. It Kills
  7. ILL
  8. Young
  9. Born Into This
  10. Criminal

Year End Lists

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Added on: November 3, 2017