Moloch – Verwüstung

Moloch is all business.  He has no time for anything but business, and he is a proprietor of the business of black metal.  Not business in the capitalist sense, business in the sense of "this is my life".  Seriously, he sent us some things digitally, which we really don't have time for with all of the hardcopy stuff coming in, so we said, "hey man, sorry, for obvious reasons we need to focus on hardcopy at the moment."  "Really?  Okay, give me your address," his reply.  Seriously like five days later there it was, this dark monstrosity as well as some other things, not a single day wasted.  See, that's because Moloch is all about the art, he's about the life.  He's about wandering in forests of snow, but when you see him and the landscape around, not an ounce of you chuckles, because you know he lives it.  It isn't merely for show, he's not merely going by "the look" everyone else craps out.  There's nothing banal and redundant here.  Hell, if you look at his discography you'll see he has pretty much over a hundred releases even though he's only been around for about a decade.  We're talking comps, EPs, splits, full-lengths, this guy doesn't mess around, clearly.  And in his latest full-length, Verwüstung, every ounce of his being has been put into the creation of black metal in complete purity.  With a command of both the classic, the dark, and the atmospheric, Moloch deserves the fan base he has for many reasons, one of which is this album.

  

Verwüstung opens with some of the most sparse dark ambient to ever introduce a black metal release.  The listener is brought into an endless void, created perfectly through the bare minimum of sound.  Just enough that you know something is there, you're just not entirely sure what it is, yet. Imagine being within the depths of an ancient cave, feeling that something is close, but until it touches your skin you're not certain it even exists.  That's what Moloch does here.  Verwüstung suddenly kicks it into classic black metal with "Blutmond" after you've been treated to an emptying of the soul.  Freezing tremolo and lo-fi recording blasts into view, surrounding you in its immediacy.  This style is kept throughout, Moloch using the classic sound of black metal, yet not reducing himself to merely the level of art through production, which so-called "true" black metal is known for.  No, the coarse textures are there, sure, but he also creates riffs with a highly emotional quality, which is what atmosphere requires for it to function properly.

 

It gets you to think, it turns an everyday occurrence into something otherworldly.  The key here is his command of riffs, because generally his approach is so classic it's easy to confuse it for nearly any early black metal band, he just tends to do it all better.  There are no real surprises in delivery, merely a perfection of the form, though it is worth noting that some of his drumming is impressive, in fact some of the fastest we've ever heard at certain points.  However, where Moloch really picks it up, beyond his command of the foundations of black metal, is the atmosphere.  Oh, seriously, how many bands we've heard and heard of who supposedly are masters of atmosphere.  Please.  Several of the songs on Verwüstung have just a touch of it, via acoustic, or haunting voices floating around the speakers, but then he lays it all out in the second-to-last track, which is the real killer to pull it all together.  The title track is absolute emptiness and capturing this much atmosphere in something so desolate requires a true understanding of black metal, all of the sensations it seeks to evoke, and putting that into a single track.  And here it is.  "Verwüstung" is eleven plus minutes of sparse mastery of ambient.  Bleak piano strikes, barren keyboards, and all of that without a single lack of style as you find in practically every keyboard line ever written by any craplord who usually tries.  There are plenty of bands out here who could learn something from Moloch, a lot of things.  Start here and listen back through everything he's done.  Real art, right here.  If you want to even come close to this try to understand it first.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Moloch – Verwüstung
Metallic Media/Acephale Winter Productions
4.5 / 5