MOLIS SEPULCRUM – Left For the Worms (2021)REVIEW

Few phenomena plague me in a more complex manner than that of the still-prevalent use of the Boss HM-2 guitar effects pedal, not because I don’t love it and not -only- because I’ve nostalgia for this sound dating back to 1992 or so but, because the ol’ Svenska stomp-cannon isn’t the insta-death metal multi-tool that it is so often touted as and it certainly isn’t the only component of the eldest, most essential applications therein. The “crank it all to eleven” extremity produced by dialing the boom up like a savage is iconic both as a powerful harmonically resonant force and a messy veil for otherwise standard and/or less than inventive compositional skill. Such overblown distortion can render invigorating and violent music unto a cuddly, plush and predictable quality if there is no specific whirling of said overbearing overdrive into songcraft. Why rant on aimlessly about it, eh? After several decades of appreciating this sound a spirited record like ‘Left For the Worms‘, the debut EP from Hungarian death metal band Molis Sepulcrum, has that much more of a barrier to entry for the entirely typical Swedish death metal obsession it touts up front via an unchanging, unfaltering chainsaw-revving buzz. To be fair it is a matter of focused immersion before the appeal of this brutal and psycho-kinetic band begins to rise in mind but I’d still walk away from these six songs flattened by a guitar tone that leaves little else to latch onto in its wake.

Don’t stomp off that knock-off digital repro box in shame and slam-click this page shut just yet, this is a great “guitar-forward” kinda record most any pure death metal fan is going to like. The pre-requisite ask here isn’t that Molis Sepulcrum‘s HM-2 usage is inordinately prominent but instead that it isn’t modulated in a unique way (see: Horrendous ‘The Chills’, Desolate Shrine ‘Tenebrous Towers’) to indicate their own tonal thread. Instead we have a bright, clear and deep-as-possible gut heavy guitar tone scrambling atop what is largely violent, high-speed and low-finesse death metal. The crusted-over and thrash metal infused spectrum of early Swedish death metal has had serious impact upon this (assumedly) Szeged-based group’s sound when it comes to keeping the speed cranked, the d-beats filling all available space and the full kit splashing around wildly as the drummer holds it all in place by sheer gravitas. The rhythm section particularly shines on “Impaled by Fear” giving some kinesio-energetic volatility to the standout piece via a chrome plated distorted bass guitar tone and one of the more frantic and impressive drum performances on the record. As Molis Sepulcrum are weaving morbid grooves into these edgy change-ups the appeal is impossible to deny — That’d be the main reason I’d complain about the guitar tone weighing too heavily upon ‘Left For the Worms’, I hear a band with plenty of legit riffs fighting it out underneath ten tons of guitar sludge. Is it still cool? Yep.

Fans of early Grave, Entrapment, Fleshcrawl just past ‘Soulskinner’, and the greater pre-‘Wolverine Blues’ competition for the most riffs within a hundred miles of Stockholm will appreciate the attack that Molis Sepulcrum bring on this debut and this isn’t too far a stone to throw from member’s work in Gravecrusher and the indirectly related (and equally Riddick artwork adorned) Coffinborn, so there is precedence in these folks’ past going back a decade or two including the impressive stylized artwork from Sickness666. Point being this is clearly the sound they love and they’re quite good at wielding it despite my old idiot bellyaching about distortion. Fuck what I think if you just want a death metal record that goes in for the kill and screams bloody murder doing it, this is it. That said, if I have one legit request from the whole Molis Sepulcrum gig is that they lean heavier into the extremes they toy with here, the pace is brutal enough but push it and hey, a few hits of doom near the end might’ve taken me out of the tunnel vision of ‘Left For the Worms’ riff-fest and knocked the full listen out of this world. As is, this record is an ear-shredder and an absolute blast to sit with, the biggest compliment I could leave ’em with is that they’ve got the riffs to back up all the big goddamned noise and I’m looking forward to what they do with a hefty 35-40 minute record. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (76/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Left For the Worms
LABEL(S):Pulverised Records
RELEASE DATE:July 16th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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