Molested - Blod Draum (1995) - 4/5
The early 90's were generally a good time for death and black metal. The former came first, emerging mostly from Sweden and Florida, then the latter came around, supposedly to oppose it, from Norway and also Sweden. Although Norway is mostly associated with black metal nowadays, they did have a fair share of death metal bands back then, such as Cadaver, Thou Shalt Suffer, and this review's focus: Molested. Like the black metal, this band had a strong but very unconventional sense of melody as well as a folk tinge, but as a death metal band, they delivered it in a strange, creative way that would make them very hard to mistake for the genre's arch-rival. The general approach of the band is a sort of mixture of total madness and numerous melodies. The idea seems somewhat self-contradictory at first and sure as hell doesn't sound like it when you put on the first track. A closer approach though, reveals that there's more to this album than just a lot of death metal happening very quickly.
Molested really like tremolo picking, seeing as it makes up at least over 90% of all guitar work on the release. They construct their songs around these powerful melodies that while aggressive and able to shift their momentum quickly, always stay very cohesive and orderly. Mostly free from rhythmic reference, they spin, twist, and turn around, like some fast-moving cobra on steroids and mind altering substances. The non-stop savage pace may turn many off at first, but they manage to in a way channel the whole wall-of-sound effect in such a way that creates a sound that is simultaneously gripping while in a way possessing a sort of ambience to it. Subtly folk-tinged guitar lines rear their head throughout the album, evoking a sort of epic feel usually more associated with black metal. From beneath the storm of tremolo-picked madness, medium-low ranged vocals let out sepulchral growls. While they seem to be somewhere under the guitars in the production, this seems to have been an intentional move. It only really results in the vocals sounding a lot more ominous and eerie; like some monstrous wild beast growling from behind the cover of foliage. Under all of this, a totally maniacal drummer hammers out a barrage of total rhythmic warfare, which as mad as it sounds, fortunately is very appropriate given the constant assault of the band's sound. Rolls and fills burst out like sudden, interjecting explosions while prolonged blasting sections send a song's momentum charging forward. Even at slower or mid-paced sections, the drumming never really seems to let up its frantic, maddening pace.
In spite of how chaotic it is, there are some pretty solid examples of songwriting here. "The Hate From Miasma Storms" showcases the band at their most melodic without entering the realm of bad radio singles. "Following the Growls" seems to almost show a tragic side to the band's sense of melody before entering an incredibly eerie totally folk instrument section. "Carved by Raven Claws" is pretty much the band at maximum intensity; the song itself starts out with an incredibly harsh, chromatic assault of deconstructive twisting riffs. "Forlorn as a Mist of Grief" opens up with one of the coolest non-metal openings in death metal; some folk instrument whispering out a discomforting, creeping melody before barbaric melodies ambush it and bring the album towards a hellish end.
It's a shame this band has mostly been forgotten by extreme metal fans all over the world. It essentially takes a lot of the general ideas black metal had and twists them to work in a definitely death metal format. Even then, what it creates is something that no one has managed to successfully imitate or build upon yet. It is simply one of those hidden treasures of the past; those timeless albums that don't really seem to belong to any particular time period. Melody and madness join forces to create something that has the best of both worlds on Molested's first and only release. For those who want something that can fuse two seemingly opposing forces together, definitely give this beast a go.
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Monday, 10 May 2010