Moloken – Unveilance of Dark Matter

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: The Sign Records
Released: 2020
Buy Album: Bandcamp 
Band Website: http://moloken.net/

Band Line-up:

Jakob Burstedt – Drums
Kristoffer Bäckström – Guitar / Vocals
Nicklas Bäckström – Bass / Vocals
Patrik Ylmefors – Guitar / Vocals

Tracklisting:

01. This Love Is A Curse
02. Surcease
03. Shadowcastle
04. No Ease No Rest
05. Hollow Caress
06. Venom Love
07. Repressed
08. Lingering Demise
09. Unbearable
10. I Still Can’t Hear you
11. Unveilance of Dark Matter

Review:

Originating from the Swedish city of Umeå, Moloken came together in 2007 to channel one of humanities oldest forms of expression.

“Music has been a part of human history and it is the only language that has transcended every age.”

To elaborate, the band acknowledge their musical communication as an evolving process; they have, by their own account, walked their own path, “disregarding musical conventions,” but that’s not to say they don’t pull their influences from an existing palette. Black, death and doom metal are all styles the band tap into. They recognise hardcore and 70s progressive rock as being wider areas of the genre pool from where their ideas are taken and distilled into something that could be described using the album’s imposing title: An Unveiling Of Dark Matter indeed.

Whichever way you choose to interpret “dark matter,” there is a good chance the music contained herein will provide an accurate, aural representation of it. While the band talk about having a variety of influences, they present these by tightly compacting them into a compound of churning styles that burns and burrows restlessly. The result is a frenetic performance of dissonant guitars, erratic percussion and howling catharsis. Intensity is something Moloken can do very effectively.

Arguably, this comes at the expense of variety. While there are occasional changes in tempo and density (some notable examples of this would be the imposing march of This Love Is A Curse, the heavy waltz of Shadowcastle or the spacious void of the title track) the songs, even with these divergences, are more or less built using the same elements. This will generally consist of the distorted and discordant guitars arranged to jostle waywardly underneath the tormented vocals. Everything is executed with undeniable musical skill. The musicianship is superb but I feel this album would benefit from being a shorter, sharper blast of catharsis.

Whether you agree or disagree with this point will possibly depend on how invested you are in the level of abreaction contained in these songs. Some listeners may find the album captures and reflects their own fury and I have no doubt that with enough volume, Unveiling The Dark Matter could be used as a cleansing exorcism; a triumphant howl at the universe if that is what you need it to be.

But, in my experience, while there is much to enjoy on this album, I found it to be a rather aloof experience – like looking into the asylum from behind the safety of a one-way mirror; observing and curiously attracted to the madness.

Then, eventually, over the repeating barrage of eleven songs, what had begun as an appealingly vicious diatribe started to sound more like a drawn out temper tantrum to me. Sometimes, enough is enough.

This seems a shame, because taken in smaller doses, Unveiling Of Dark Matter is a brutal listen. The drums are relentless and the riffs impress with their idiosyncratic lilt. If the record was two songs shorter I might have felt inclined to give it an extra point – so bear that in mind if deranged and aggravated progressive hardcore generally appeals. Otherwise, the law of diminishing returns applies here. Moloken‘s nihilism is ultimately watered down by its abundance, but with that being said, there are absolutely enough plus points on this release to recommend it.

Horns up.

Review By Beandog
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