Denmark’s Møl may not be on your radar just yet but, if you’re a fan of black metal in the vein of Deafheaven, Wolves in the Throne Room, Ghost Bath and Oathbreaker, expect to be blown away by the band’s debut album, Jord.
Møl have already garnered deserved attention in the underground metal community since forming in 2012. Their hypnotic blend of reverb-drenched ethereal textures mixed with intense outbursts of blackened ferocity is a profound, all-encompassing sonic maelstrom. Jord takes their sound to a whole new level though and, cliched as it may sound, takes the listener on a journey that never becomes tiring despite the extremities in the music.
The band began with guitarist Nicolai Hansen and drummer Ken Klejs, who previously played together in a shoegaze dream pop outfit taking inspiration from bands such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. When that project ended, Hansen and Klejs began to exchange demos and develop a sound that took those influences and mixed them with a heavier metallic edge. The arrival of Møl seemed perfectly timed to take advantage of the growing interest in the burgeoning blackgaze movement and the band soon began making its name as one of that scene’s finest proponents.
In their native tongue, Jord translates as earth, soil or the planet as a whole, and the sounds found on the album evoke expansive, barren landscapes and, while black metal purists may continue to scoff at this new strand of the genre, Møl’s music will likely bring a whole new audience to a scene often considered too extreme for most music listeners.
One of the album’s greatest achievements is how effortlessly it seems to transition from the darkness of tracks like Bruma to the aggression of Vakuum before the altogether mellower and atmospheric soundscapes of the instrumental, Lambda, where their love of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine is obvious for all to hear. When they’re going for beauty, Møl achieve it in a style that can seem deceptively easy.
Benjamin Kousholt of White Flag Harmonies adds some clean vocals to Ligament, the last song finished for the record, and it’s yet another unexpected element that helps hold the listener’s interest despite the sometimes bleak nature of the music.
As an album, Jord proves to be a thrillingly emotional record, an aural journey of build-up and release, all underpinned by a sense of catharsis. Despite being a relatively young sub-genre, blackgaze has already begun to find itself with bands that can seem tired and uninspired. With Jord, however, Møl have created something that sets a whole new standard for the genre.
Review – Steve Gerrard
Photo: Marika Hyldemar