Morass of Molasses is a rather recently established act, with but a brief 12″ EP under their belt. It is likely that they are well established in the local Reading (UK) scene, but for most people they are probably quite unknown at this point. Their debut full-length, These Paths We Tread, aims to change all that, and from a few listens in different environments it is the opinion of this reviewer that it has a good chance of doing so.
The opening track “My Leviathan” is built on an amazing, and I do mean amazing, riff that gets you right in the mood. In the interest of full disclosure, this reviewer must admit that the initial impression of the desperately screaming vocals which begin almost right away as the track takes off was everything but positive. There were hints of -core in them, a sense of hipster pseudo-aggression that didn’t do the trick, dark memories of Rage Against the Machine. However, once the repetitive, almost meditative nature of the vocal structure in the song became clear, there was understanding, and that initial distaste evaporated. Throughout the album, the vocal styles vary widely – from whispers, over melodic cleans to further desperate howls of hatred. In the end, they all contribute to the totality in a constructive way.
As far as the rest of the production is concerned, the guitars are distorted and raw, but it’s not the pure stoner fuzz that might have been expected. Rather, the strings have a somewhat old school rock’n roll or perhaps rather blues feel to them, even if the total picture that emerges from the punching drums and modern production lands the whole thing in a more hard rock oriented fold. Sound-wise, that is, because metal licks, rocky riffs and even the occasional metal-style solo aside, this is still pretty clear stoner rock.
Of the genres listed by the label in the release notes – fuzz, stoner, heavy blues and doom, the latter is certainly the least apparent one. Even so, there is the anxiety in the vocals, and an overall somewhat brooding and threatening feel to the ever-so-slightly drawling drums and too-cool-for-school riffing. Much like there are synthesizer projects that capture the spirit of black metal with classical instrument VSTs and sampled winds, it could possibly be said that Morass of Molasses capture the spirit of doom with stoner blues riffs.
These Paths We Tread is a very cool, very hard, very blue album that combines genres in a very clever fashion. If you want to drink in style on your patio this summer, you should probably make sure to have this blues-stoner-rock-doom extravaganza blasting in the background. It is available for pre-order on various ultra cool, limited vinyl versions right now from Hevisike.