This year there’s been a lot of movement on instrumental/atmospheric metal front, with the returns of behemoths Rosetta and Minsk definitely taking the spotlight. While these records did a great job at breaking the mould off a genre that seemed dead in recent years, they didn’t quite explore that murky, darker, grimy side of sludge infused with hardcore and crust elements. Well fear not, as Moloken fix that with their third and newest album All Is Left To See finally offering new material for the lovers of these sonorities.
Conceived as the first chapter of a trilogy, All Is Left To See is a crushing mix of hardcore and black metal on top of a massive atmospheric texture. The album in a way sits in between that wave of neo-black metal (or post-black metal if you like that better) all atmosphere and crescendos, and more properly hardcore-oriented bands à la The Secret or Trap Them, to name but a few. The album was conceived to be able to stand on its feet while also initiate the listener to this journey between light and darkness in our everyday lives.
RELEASE DATE: 19 October 2015 LABEL: Temple of Torturous
All Is Left To See definitely can stand on its heavy feet. Both introduction and stand-alone record, the album is charged with all the raw emotions of an atmospheric metal record infused with hardcore elements that make it an effective single record, and a worthy first chapter of a virtual trilogy. Throughout the record, the band seems to allude to a follow-up, a second chapter that is, but the guys in Moloken definitely have the ability to keep you interested without giving away too much at the same time. By the time the record clock in, little before half an hour, we are found satisfied while still craving from more.
Although the album really does feel like a cohesive whole, opener “Subliminal Hymns” and middle-of-the-pack “Seventh Circle” are the highlights on All Is Left to See. The former, also leading single off of the album, showcases both the band’s traditional sound and the new hardcore influences, centre of this new effort. The latter is the oldest song of the lot, recorded over a year ago and main inspiration for the rest of the album, working as a bridge between old and new Moloken. The Moloken of Rural so dear to that Scandinavian (but properly Swedish) current of sludge metal bands, and the newer course, definitely more geared towards aggression, but still capable of explosive atmospheric crescendos. With this newly found energy, the quartet put out an album that both sounds personal and in line with the main trends in the genre.
In line with this trend is also the production work on All Is Left To See. Trademark of the genre is the contraposition of two antithesis, noise and clarity coexisting and completing each other, giving the genre its contradistinctive sound. All Is Left To See’s allure resides exactly in this juxtaposition between nasty and dirty with clear and crisp. Just take that dirty bass slap in the intro riff on “Subliminal Hymns”, it’s just so good. Moloken master this recording technique on their latest offering thanks to the big distortion and muffled sound with crisp and clear details and with the bass guitar and drums in the background but clearly audible. If anything, what’s missing is a more personal mark on the sound, too similar to many other records in the genre, and definitely not giving justice to a record that is personal just as much as it fits in its niche.
All Is Left To See looks threatening from the start, and the music only confirms that assumption. Equally aggression and atmosphere, the record dangerously navigates amongst these waters without sinking exclusively into one territory. The result is eight songs that expand the band’s sound and reach while reconfirming its foundations. In this sonic assault there’s very little to see, but what is left, what transpires, is a picture that however gloomy, shines of a black, promising light. The journey has just begun, but Moloken are already on the right path.