Review: Molekh “Ritus” [Bent Window Records / Pale Ghoul Recordings]

Review: Molekh “Ritus” [Bent Window Records / Pale Ghoul Recordings]

- in Reviews

Underground and indie scene is full of rising stars; some are wading through the thorns, gaining some kind of mainstream influence, but some names are literally too underground to be able to exhibit themselves en masse. Molekh, the new Irish black metal quad is one of those bands, profoundly rooted into gloomy underground – subterranean monsters, frightened by the light. Their debut album Ritus was released late in March by Canadian label Bent Window Records (digitally and CD version) and Australian Pale Ghoul (tape version). Structurally disharmonic and emotionally complicated, Ritus breaks through simplified and orthodox black metal, dipping the hoofs into murky waters of crepuscular avant-garde.

Molekh was founded in 2017 in Dublin by the Polish immigrants engaged in an iconic black/death/folk metal band Thy Worshipper. Thy Worshipper is rather based on pagan ideas – ethnic traditions, legends, nature and stuff like that. Meanwhile Molekh is cut from a different cloth (and there is only one member of Thy Worshipper left). This band focuses on pure black metal spirit, but then regurgitates its very core, transforming every angle in a most perverse way. This music is sick, noisy and dissonant as hell, but still it belongs to overpowering kingdom of black metal. And soiled by ceremonial rigidity, it creates constant occult atmosphere, like you are participating in person in this forty-minute ritual.

And there is also the topic of Satanism. OK, what about that? Molekh is a black metal band, what can we expect, this genre is closely associated with satanic beliefs. Yes, but there is a big difference – to perform traditional black metal and pay homage to all its traditions or to perform black metal and to be a part of satanic conception. This album is one big ritual in musical form, soaked in occult atmosphere; living personification of devilish witchcraft. It doesn’t even matter how deeply the members of Molekh are into Satanism, within Ritus every member of this band is selling his soul to almighty Satan, and while this music is playing, the gates of Hell are open, and all the demons are here, among us.

It’s also difficult to describe the musical side of Ritus, there’s a lot going on it, but also in a minimalistic and monotonous way. The harmonies are devoured by disharmonies, the classical side is oppressed by all the avant-garde kinks, and the ceremonial pureness is contaminated by orgiastic fervor. Too many controversial polarities, this music incarnate ancient forces, but within contemporary times – a ghost of primal evil robed in the attire of the priests with kind eyes. Raw, chaotic, and filthy, Molekh are here to mix traditional with untraditional under the transparent veil of necromancy and scorched hopes of the lost humankind.

So, apart from constant occult background, regular chanting and sacramental mood, there are more mundane moves, like melodic lines and doom metal influence in “Incubus” or rusty death metal elements in “Possessionem”. Self-titled “Ritus” offers some jazzy passages under tragically unnerving mood, while “Cruor Innocentia” is replete with psychedelic elements. There are irregular time signatures, angular riffs and syncopations during this album, but still, it’s not easy to describe it as post-black or psychedelic black metal. It’s too complex, too intricate to be a part of one genre, so it’s better to use an umbrella term avant-garde, where everything is possible and acceptable. But we can also relax a little, while Molekh dive into clean purisms of black metal under the ceremonial supervision of occult eye of providence. The singing lines also break the constant unmelodiousness, providing with a healthy dose of piercing screams or smarmy chanting. And while the guitars remind us of all the post and experimental associations, the drums on the contrary create mind-blowing wall of sound, a perfect soundtrack to a psychedelic trip, but strangely set up in a monochrome world.

The Christianity ruled the Middle Ages, people were easily intimidated by primitive interpretations of good vs. evil, hence the authority of Satan was much stronger. This album resurrects those ancient feelings, reviving the image of medieval Satan without overused clichés or predictable fears, combining the wisdom of Kabbalah with blind worshipping – from Dark Ages to modern times, back to the seed of evil, back to the beast with seven heads.

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About the author

I am into metal music from the school times, started from traditional genres, and now exploring the experimental scene. I'm also interested in modern architecture and contemporary art.

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