Following on from their sublime 2018 debut album Jord, Holy Roar Records are re-releasing Danish blackgaze purveyors Møl‘s first two EPs I and II, presenting them here for the first time as one complete package.

If, like many, Jord was your introduction to Møl, I/II is the perfect opportunity to delve into the band’s formative years and hear the genesis of their wonderful shoegaze-meets-black-metal sound. The opening tracks, ‘Sundrowned’ and ‘Airy’, are noticeably rawer in feel compared to Jord yet at the same time are not quite as dark and feel almost, in parts, uplifting. All the elements associated with Møl are here, though the guitars haven’t quite reached the same level of grandeur achieved on Jord just yet. Vocalist Kim Song’s hauntingly beautiful screams sound wonderful on ‘Airy’, sitting slightly further back in the mix and being intertwined with some truly gorgeous reverb-drenched leads.

‘Kathexis’ is simply transcendent – a true highlight of the EP and one of the best songs Møl have produced to date. Opening with captivating melancholic keyboard effects, the song blossoms into a truly epic beast, with bittersweet guitar leads uniting with Song’s soaring vocals, all of which are bolstered by a thunderous rhythm section to genuinely thrilling effect. The quieter midsection is simply divine too, with a robust bassline anchoring the swirling guitars, gradually building to a magnificent soaring crescendo. This song, arguably more than any other on I/II, offers a true glimpse of the sound they would perfect on future works.

As the EP progresses, the material gets heavier. ‘Atacama’ and ‘Rush’ are the most intense tracks here, and are a nod to the heavier direction the band would take on their full-length debut. They feature some of the EP’s faster moments too as well as some wonderfully demonic roars from Song. ‘Rush’ in particular has some fantastically ferocious guitar work mid-way through, as chunky thrash riffs give way to further impressive guitar leads. Once again, through these tracks you can hear their signature sound developing.

In recent years, black metal bands, most notably Deafheaven, have started to incorporate shoegaze influences into their sound but it is Møl that have done so most effectively, bringing an emotional resonance and broader pallet of sounds that transcend both genres. As Møl’s success continues to grow on the back of Jord,  I/II stands as a spellbinding introduction to the band’s inception.

I/II is out 7th June via Holy Roar Records and can be purchased here.

Words: Adam Pegg

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