An arresting image.
The storklord sounds like the one who sends out the foot soldiers to drop bombs on the civilian populace, rather than deliver babies. Plus it has a Marvel Comics feel to it. So it’s certainly grabbed my attention.
On the go since 2013, Molarbear are made up of ex members of Jackalfeud, The Comparison Ford, Altus, and Escape Fails. This is their first album.
The cover is a strange one. From a distance, the use of yellow catches the eye and the cut up montage creating some form of creature (obviously the storklord in question) draws the listener closer. Upon closer inspection, it’s computer generated imagery doesn’t stand up under close scrutiny, like a bad attempt at ‘The VIIth Coming’ by Cathedral.
It’s a shame, because this is an album that is so confident, so self assured and actually rocks
‘Land of Wolves’ opens proceedings and is an atmospheric riffer which recalls The Jesus Lizard if they were a desert sessions band. I love how the chorus is sung with an echo effect, giving it a howling, haunting feel to it. Like you’re trapped in the desert and these voices are warning you that your time is near.
The various time changes keep the listener on their toes and flow so succinctly with the vibe. As an opener, this is excellent.
‘Most Immortal Ape’ throws in a lot of angular shapes with a rolling, stoner rock groove. It can sound disjointed initially, but repeat listens will see it come together. The vocals sound utterly exhausted and deranged on this one. An unusual combination, but one that works well.
‘Bird of Prey’ is easily the best song never written by Prong. Chiming, post punk guitar line, straight up groove, relentless chords and clean singing that isn’t whiney. Best song on here? Certainly one of them.
‘Teeth and Bone’ has “single” written all over it. A catchy two minute hardcore inspired number with elements of Unsane present, it grabs the listener right from the beginning. I’m sure it sounds even more apocalyptic live.
‘Sky Funeral’, which is named after the funeral practise where the body of the deceased is left out in the open (often a mountaintop) for nature to deal with the corpse (which, to the believers, is just an empty vessel at this point), closes the album. Melding doom and post rock, they create an explosive and cathartic soundtrack for such a ritual.
Much like their local contemporaries THVS, they operate in a landscape that is informed by epic sounding post-hardcore, sludgy doom and the more angular end of post punk. The sound throughout the album is beefy, muscular and thoroughly modern sounding. Each instrument can be heard without battles in the mix. Which is astonishing for a band with three guitar players.
In certain ways, it reminds me of the recent Noisepicker album in terms of the grooves and the influence of desert rock on the respective bands sounds (although Molarbear lean more towards hardcore/groove than Noisepicker’s stoner/noise rock sound).
Confidence rarely sounds as explosive as it does on here.
4 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 14/07/18