Two of death metal’s grossest groups have gotten together to release a splendid split for us to digest today. Put your dentures in, this one’s got some real meat and potatoes.
When coming across words you don’t know, most people keep on reading at the consequence of misunderstanding. I, however, choose to look up these unknown entities to add to my ever-growing vocabulary so I can forget them an hour later. I don’t know what Molder means and neither do you.
slowly decay or disintegrate, especially because of neglect
Alright, now that we possess this knowledge we can understand what this group is all about: fetid death and decay, cool! Let’s get on with this review because my promo copy has been moldering away as we’re approaching the album’s release date.
In a parallel collaborative effort, Coffin Rot joins our freaky friends in this mutual slaying of foes. Both bands have a few demos under their belts (Molder even has a live album already, that’s bold) and were formed back in 2017. Aptly titled Coffin Rot/Molder, this split is fitted with two original tracks and a cover from each group; none of these songs are over four minutes and they all rip. Let’s dive into this pool that hasn’t been kept up to safety standards.
Pressing the “play” button opens the listener up to a newfound presence of fetid air thanks to Coffin Rot, who pulled the long end of the stick and got to go first on this release. In summation, their flavour of death metal is fairly conventional within today’s metal sphere but their output is thoroughly enjoyable. Standing tall against a cleaner production style, these Rotters seem to be aiming for unorthodox yet solid songwriting in order to achieve their heaviness. On the other hand, Molder’s style is almost the opposite in these small categories, as they aim for a garage-brutality rather than decipherable riffs, but more on that later.
“Living Cremation” and “Unmarked, Shallow Grave”, Coffin Rot’s two original contributions, are polar opposites in some sense of the term. Album opener “Living Cremation” is more of an unconventional track which offers meaty riffs, screams and grunts here and there, and rabid lead guitar solos. The song also has a great rock n’ roll vibe due to the lack of blast beats, which works really well with the group’s style.
On the contrary (stylistically, not in terms of enjoyment level), “Unmarked, Shallow Grave” is a faster, thrashier track which is a straightforward and predictable (in a good way). The track incorporates all that should be expected for a death metal tune and otherwise rips in entirety. There’s this great musicianship within the track’s last minute, as the song breaks down into a deadly crawl and builds itself back up again. This is the new age of death metal. Listen to “Unmarked, Shallow Grave” below.
Following a cover of Cancer’s “Hung, Drawn, and Quartered”, we get a taste of what Molder has to offer. The all-telling transition between two band’s tracks, which are most of the time recorded in separate studios on splits like these, is now introduced and show’s the listener which band they really prefer, especially in terms of production. The magic crystal ball reveals a disgustingly murky production on Molder’s side of the split which is absolutely delicious to the ear.
Probably recorded in someone’s garage somewhere with little sound proofing, the mix on these contributions is great! Molder certainly nailed that gritty, underground, thick production that a lot of bands dream of these days, and they certainly made good use of it.
My favourite portion of Molder’s two tracks is during the middle portion of “Skulker”, the group’s last original composition before the split concludes with their cover of Morgue’s “Repulsive Death”. There is this delightful part during “Skulker” where all of the instruments make way for an all-out bass session for a few seconds, which reveals how gross Molder’s bass tone truly is. Previously hidden within the mix but now freed, we get to be entertained by the rumbling instrument for a few seconds before the song works its way to some sort of full force again.
Their other track, “Condemned to the Catafalque”, is equally enjoyable, especially because of the vocalist’s menacing scream during the beginning. The song really highlights the vocalist’s raw aggression on these recordings, as he really sounds like his guts are about to spew from behind his teeth whenever he opens his mouth. This guy is off the rails and is the highlight of the split for me; listen below.
I would have liked to see another song from each band, as covers don’t really do much for me. Perhaps 10 minutes of music from both Coffin Rot and Molder would have been a perfect equilibrium, in addition to the two covers.
If I were to pit Coffin Rot and Molder against one-another in terms of their performance on this release, I’d give a slight victory to Molder. The raw production mixed with their filthy songwriting just creates this putrid atmosphere which has been done before, but their demonstration puts them up equally in comparison to the big leagues, in my eyes. While Coffin Rot delivered some great songwriting, and I don’t dislike their choice to coat their music in a slightly cleaner production, I’m an old-school death metal guy so I got to give it to the filthy boys in Molder. Either or, do not sleep on this release as it has potential to be one of the best splits of the year, if not top 5. Buy the split on digital, cassette, and vinyl formats via Rotted Life Records (link below).
Purchase via Rotted Life Records