Molten - Official Website


United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Festering Anamnesis
2. Malicide
3. Pathogenesis
4. Scorched
5. Moirai
6. Prophets Of Greed
7. Empires Of Divinity
8. Life Of War

Review by Greg on April 8, 2024.

Rising from the ever-growing scene of California, Molten are now at their second full-length offering, and, right from the bleak, evocative artwork, you can tell this Malicide is gonna be a strange beast. The band presents an amalgam of styles that incorporates thrash, death, heavy, and doom influences, and if at least part of that description made you think of Arghoslent, you're not too far off – it's the band these traditional elements melded with death metal foundations, complete with deep growled vocals, are more often associated with. Although it's a comparison based on purely musical merits, naturally without any kind of ignorant and bigoted opinions (arguably even with diametrically opposite political views... they're basically the Nega-Arghoslent in this regard). The fact that at least two Molten members have/have had experiences in heavy metal outfits might be a partial explanation, especially the super prominent bass courtesy of ex-Hell Fire Herman Bandala.

One thing to get immediately out of the way is that Malicide isn't the easiest of albums, just in case you hadn't imagined it based on its choice to put a 6:30 track as the opener. Now, I'm sure that reminds you of a few illustrious examples. Of course, this 'Festering Anamnesis' is no 'Left Hand Path', and arguably it isn't even the strongest cut here, but it does enough to exhibit more or less Molten's whole arsenal. A frontal attack sounding as if taken straight from Hornets of the Pogrom's best moments meets a somewhat Opeth approach in the occasional arpeggios scattered around, obviously without the slightest trace of clean vocals. I'd say that not every transition is exactly flawless, but it isn't really an album of prog suites either, so a few jarring, abrupt jumps from one section to another might arguably be even more appropriate.

More generally speaking, the whole tracklist is actually rather unusual. We get a trio of extremely brief songs in the middle, in total countertrend with the rest of the album amounting to almost half an hour with five tracks. 'Pathogenesis', 'Scorched', and 'Moirai' try a bit of everything, from In Solitude-esque riffs passed through a filter of pure rotten flesh to an attempt at rewriting Testament's well-known 'Hypnosis', with 'Scorched' especially notable for shoehorning roughly a thousand tempo changes in less time than one would need to change their socks. Perhaps some may dismiss it as excessive genre-hopping for its own sake, nonetheless these were the moments I found more intriguing about Molten. So far...

Yes, because side B sees the band trying their hand at progressively more and more complex numbers, with 'Prophets Of Greed' succeeding where the title-track partially failed with leads everywhere (including a bass solo), and reaching what's probably a physical limit with 'Empires Of Divinity'. After a more standard fare for the first third, solos fly from every corner and you'll be surprised by how spot-on the melodic solutions are, with a brutally simple, yet awesome clean bridge and especially that Iron-Maiden-evil-twins-like last solo, with bass gallop underneath, to boot. Ten minutes can be predictably a lot to stomach, but in such an interesting album it's arguably the more interesting track, and the acoustic guitar bringing the whole thing full circle at the end makes it the perfect closer to such an album...

...that's why I was so surprised to find out there's actually another song after it! I'm not usually the kind of person to complain about the tracklist order too much, but really I'd have sorted things out differently in this case. Not bashing 'Life Of War' itself, obviously, which is another riff-heavy beast with a frantic, if slightly overlong, finale. But maybe just swapping the last two would have sufficed. In any case, a totally marginal flaw. Some less-than-marginal ones remain, even after repeated listens, and you'll need to be in the right mindset for the longest episodes, but overall Malicide is no doubt a slow burner, surely helped by the increasingly absorbing tracklist. Unique, even if occasionally to a fault.

Rating: 7.8 out of 10