12 Jan 2022 - Thorsten
Blackened New-Wave | Nuclear Blast | Release date: 05 Nov 2021 | Favorite song: Redacted
”Make Black Metal Beautiful (again)” - that might have been what Danish blackened hardcore – torchbearers MØL might have thought when they recorded their latest album ”Diorama”. On the one hand that is a blessing and on the other it is a basis for discussions.
Aarhus-based, MØL have been taking the metal world by storm since the release of their first, self-titled EP back in 2014 and especially since their full-length debut Jord back in 2018. Diorama is basically their second full-length and already the metal press worldwide is writing laudations here and there and everywhere for the band being something like “the future of metal”. Why? Because the record is a) easily accessible and b) really goddamn good.
Concerning the accessibility of the record: Yes, basically every song has a great hook, the record’s got a really good production and the amount of real black metal influences has been pushed back a bit – apart from Kim’s vocals most of the time. Sometimes he contributes some really unexpectedly good clean vocals (as in ”Redacted”). Thus, by and large, one can say that the record is accessible in general – the fact that most songs of mid-tempo ones and that some of the chord structures are anthemic as hell (compare the middle segment of ”Itinerari”, wow!) surely contribute to that thought immensely. Whether one likes that or not is up to oneself, the author of these lines, however, can completely enjoy the songs and forget about these endless and futile discussions.
Therefore, let’s focus on the record as such. Jord showed its hardcore and post-rock influences right away, so that the band was labeled as one of the best in the blackgaze or blackened hardcore game four years ago. Jord was so popular that MØL even released an instrumental version of it. The latter might not happen with Diorama but the music is still pretty interesting as the band has substituted the post-rock influences with a noticeable knack for 80s New Wave. That also shows in the amount of synths used on the record; many of these seem to have been taken straight from bands like Tears for Fears or Ultravox and transponded onto the MØL sound. Often they are combined with clean vocals or support the guitar lines – another example of how the band created a really melodic version of themselves. In ”Serf” one finds a pretty good example: The song begins with some echoed guitar pickings and then, when the drums kick in and the riffs open up, it seems as if there is a synth passage underneath the riff (however, that could also be a very cleanly and spacey tuned second guitar). The echo effects on this record are really something as they add to the record and its “nice” character. One can hear some of these synth-passages also in songs like ”Photophobic” or “Redacted” - songs that vibrate with a certain elegance.
The question remains whether this “beautiful” version of MØL was really necessary and here is my answer: We should not care, because it is the band who has to decide on that. The only question left for us to decide is - “Do I like it?”. I do. Do you do, too?
PS: Okay, the cover is really too pretty! ;-)