Written by: AP on 19/05/2018 19:24:21

While the atmospheric variant of black metal has established a strong following in Denmark lately by virtue of bands such as Myrkur, ORM and Solbrud, its other modern offshoot — namely post-black metal (or ‘blackgaze’, as it often is dubbed) — has lagged behind. One of the reasons for this might be the extreme bias against new thinking that is still so rife in the Danish metal scene and manifests itself as an endless procession of identikit death/thrash metal bands. Post-black metal is considered to be not metal enough, or not metal all. The attitude could be about to shift and the balance to tip, however, as the influence of Deafheaven et al. starts to gain traction, spearheaded by the likes of the Århus-born MØL, who have been students of the genre for several years already. But having replaced their vocalist after the release of their second EP in 2015, the band nonetheless feels like a brand new actor on their highly anticipated début album, “Jord”.

From the get-go, the record asks its audience to embrace the notion that ‘modern’ is not something to frown upon. The production blusters and glistens like a brand new Porsche on the opening track, “Storm”, with drums that sound dense and bombastic, reverberating melodies that reach for the sky, and screams that feel like shards of ice prodding at the eardrum. It and the following “Penumbra” are textbook examples of blackgaze; uplifting in their tone, cinematic in their grandeur and cathartic in their nature. And if that sounds like a summary of Deafheaven’s repertoire, it is because MØL have been quite shameless and meticulous in replicating the San Francisco, CA-based pioneers, including those respiting sections of calm post-rock worked into the likes of “Lambda” and the title track, and then simply applied their own signature in the form of electronic samples to it. As such, if you were expecting MØL to revolutionise or even innovate on the genre, then, you are in for a rude awakening. But the initial dawning that “Wow, this sounds exactly like Deafheaven!” is quickly replaced by sheer awe as the sweeping tides of “Bruma” and “Vakuum” wash over you, seeming to grow more enormous with each passing bar and eventually culminating in a rhapsodic crescendo that forms the final third of the standout “Virga” near the end of the album.

Not everything needs to be a reinvention in order to succeed — sometimes it suffices to harness the elements that make something good and then amplify and deploy those to perfection. And tempting though it is to criticise MØL for jumping into an already carved-out niche, “Jord” leaves so little to be desired in that respect amidst its marriages of the tranquil and the extreme, that it is better to just enjoy the record at face value and lose yourself in it. Doing so will unveil the wealth of ideas and details that do, after all, add touches of individuality to MØL’s music — such as the groovy, almost Mastodon-esque rhythm and riffs at the start of the aforementioned “Vakuum”, or the ethereal clean singing and choral chants woven into the fabric of “Ligament”. As far as blackgaze goes, MØL shoots straight for the upper echelons of the genre and it would take a miracle for another Danish metal artist to stage a better début than “Jord” this year. I, at least, am completely sold.


Download: Penumbra, Bruma, Virga, Jord
For the fans of: Deafheaven, Harakiri for the Sky, Oathbreaker
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.04.2018
Holy Roar Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXIII Rockfreaks.net.