Review Summary: Another post-black metal band who prove to be more than just another post-black metal band.
Arguably, it’s only recently that audiences have recognised the considerable aftershock that Deafheaven’s second album “Sunbather”
, left on the metal scene even after 5 years since its release. Simultaneously captivating and corrosive, it showcased the glorious result that can be yielded when blending contrasting soundscapes of delicate shoegaze and abrasive black metal together in such a cohesive manner which numerous bands are attempting to replicate. Similar to bands such as Sunn O))) and Agalloch, the band made such a craterous impact that, in terms of longevity, meant the album would be remembered for years to come. Nevertheless, one negative to that level of success is that any band who illustrates even a semblance of what “Sunbather”
contains is instantly subject to comparison.
Hence why it proves incredibly difficult for upcoming bands who all follow the blackened shoegaze movement to forge their own standout identities. Møl, a Danish quintet signed to the reliably brilliant Holy Roar Records roster, is the latest band who attempts to claw their way through the bottlenecked ‘blackgaze’ scene and break the surface. On paper, nothing differentiates them from the rest of these bands. Flashes of gradual soaring melodies atop exasperating howls are in abundance, shivering rhythms imploding into pensive interludes while yearning guitars that melt your heart erupt into furious tremolo at calculated moments only to freeze it once more are frequently practised during the shifting moods that “JORD”
undergoes. Admittedly, Møl’s arrangement of this contrast of emotions over their debut is seamless, heightened by the ebbing instrumental “Lambda” which offers the audience respite halfway through the album. Clearly, it is not how Møl displays a beautifully icy aesthetic that makes them stand out from the pack, rather, it is the way in which they execute it.
Standing at a scrape over 40 minutes, “JORD”
is a short album considering how expansive the sum of its parts sound. Herein lies the secret to Møl’s success: the band is able to create an expansive, spacious and free atmosphere which allows their ethereal elements to develop and breathe without sacrificing their brevity and urgent charisma. “Bruma” commences with a slow, forlorn riff dripping in melancholy only to be swept away by a tidal wave of hallowed screams and tumultuous black metal. However, the melancholic riff resurfaces above the torrents of black metal riffing throughout the song. Likewise, the swift drumming during the spacious shoegaze elements in the techy “Vigra” and the pulsating guitars smothering the incensed vocals in “Storm” upholds both the swift pace Møl plays to during the slower reflective intermissions and the vast uplifting impact they can deliver amongst bleak, seemingly impenetrable walls of sound.
Like a set of railway tracks, rage and tranquillity travel alongside each other over the course of this debut where Mølintroduces enough of a balance between emotional weight and furious energy to render them dissimilar to their counterparts, which they surely will build upon across future releases to enhance their own growing identity. Other bands merely retrace their influence’s steps closely and similarly enough to be mistaken for their shadow, yet, “JORD's”
biggest success is that it oversees Møl walking alongside these reputable blackened shoegaze artists and post-everything bands instead of trailing behind in their wake.