Splits come in all shapes and sizes these days. They remain the rarest and most collectible productive efforts of two, or more, kindred musical spirits as they look to showcase both differing outlooks and humble appreciation of each others’ comparable sounds. This particular seesaw of sliced vinyl invites together Moloch (Nottingham, UK) and Ensorcelor (Montreal, Canada) to stand on opposing hilltops and pay homage to all that is bleak, desolate, isolated and tortured in the trenches cut between their heavily armed forces.
If you’re still not yet aware of Nottingham’s grimiest, most downtrodden exponents of grade-A death-doom, then I’d say that Moloch are one stone that you probably want to leave unturned. That’s no insult in the band’s direction, it’s simply a basic assumption that if you’re into doom metal that’s this nasty, you’re most likely to already be conscious of their status as one of the underground’s most unholy of treasures. The 20-minute barrage of ‘Nihilist’ is unlikely to change your appreciation of the East Midland sludgers from either position. Fractured drumbeats and off-kilter bass leads pollute the air from the off as Chris’ desperate rasp cuts through the din like a psychotic doctor’s scalpel. Eventually Steve’s colossal guitar work weaves these nomadic mace-wielders into some kind of regular rhythm and the foursome begin to writhe as a unit. Their traditionally barren and unforgiving wastelands of Eyehategod-mangling return to the fore before a second movement after around the 7-minute mark sees them creep back into their most menacing of near-acoustic postures. It’s of course not all that long before Moloch return to punish your speakers with their rabid fuzz for a further 10 minutes complete with a tar-thick consistency that few acts can match for their levels of devastation.
On the flip, Ensorcelor approach brutality from a far more esoteric standpoint with another 20-minute dose of abandon on ‘Flesh Dreams of Uninhabited Space’. A mermaid’s ghostly wails suddenly give way to some mesmeric funeral doom passages before deathly growls and bellows inter-mingle with a deeply-rooted core of purist sludge metal. Gradually the genres blur into one field of pain and heartache as the riffs wind tighter and the throats grow ever sorer; all the while the pace remains at a pitiful, yet melodic, crawl. I wasn’t aware of the Canadian misery-churners before this release but based on this evidence if you’re a fan of anything from Thorr’s Hammer through diSembowlment and onto Bell Witch and Samothrace, I’d say they’re worth checking in on via this savagely enchanting release.
Scribed by: Pete Green