Sunday, 2 September 2012

Moloch - Blacker Than Darkness Demo


Well, as we step out of Summer and into Autumn, it's time to start searching for the music that will warm us up as the air around us gets gradually colder. What better way to start that search, than with a review of an early Moloch release. This'll also be the first of four or five reviews I do, spread over the coming weeks.

Blacker Than Darkness was the first recorded output releases by Moloch, back in 2004. Originally it was released on tape, with the Russian title "Чернее Чем Тьма". It later releases as a limited CD-r by De Profundis Productions, which later morphed into Depressive Illusions Records, which is the label formed by Moloch's sole member. Yorkshire based Black metal label, Glorious North Productions were meant to assist with the release of the CD, but it unfortunately didn't happen due to to them being ripped off by another label.

The CD-r version is the version I'm reviewing. I want to talk about the packaging for this demo first, as it's pretty unusual. The record sleeve, is a grey/black dvd size card sleeve, with the band logo, demo name and song titles printed in black onto it, hence the name Blacker Than Darkness. Inside is the demo itself, housed in a clear inner sleeve, with the lyric insert being folded paper, with burnt edges. Check out the pick below:-


Now, this picture doesn't quite do it justice, but if you look closely, you should be able to make out the Moloch logo on the sleeve, top left. I have to say, I like the attention to detail shown here. Even now, that burnt paper insert still has that smokey smell.

Anyway, back to the demo itself. It features six tracks and on the original tape releases, the titles were in Russian, but thankfully with this release they are translated into English.

Tracklist:-

1. Silent in the Pity.. (Intro)
2. Throught Halo of Fire-Brands
3. Throught Halo of Fire-Brands (Without Pain and Pity..)
4. Cold Shadows of Lost Woods
5. Birth in the Depths of Blackness
6. On the Ground, by Blood.. (Outro)


The intro, Silence In The Pity is an instrumental build up and points to the future ambient leanings of Moloch, which have been reviewed previously on this very blog.

Throught Halo of Fire-Brands is the first of two full songs that appear on this demo. There's a long build up, with rain and thunder, which seems customary these days with black metal releases. A solitary, raspy scream is all it takes though for Moloch's black metal to kick in. The guitar is the most prominent instrument here, but you can here the drums beating away in the background. The screams here sound possessed, as if they couldn't be reigned in by the production. They are however, minimal, with Moloch preferring to go for a mainly instrumental approach.

Hearing this, after hearing more recent recordings from Moloch, is a little strange but then again it's great to be able to hear their first recorded output. It puts the rest of the music into perspective and gives you a clue as to how Moloch came to evolve like it has over the years.

Third song, Throught Halo of Fire-brands (without pain and pity...) is another instrumental. It's fairly lengthy at just less than seven minutes long, but it's a follow on from the previous track. It's carries on Moloch's symphonic, ambient guitar textures. The production of this demo is, as you'd expect, it's very organic and typical of black metal demos, but that is part of its charm also.

Cold Shadows of Lost Woods is another short instrumental piece, it's a pleasant listen, but the odd bass-filled feedback flourish in it is quite disturbing and reminds you of the sinister atmosphere that Moloch are trying to create.

Birth In The Depths of Blackness begins with the sound of church bells ringing furiously, along with subtle swathes of ambiance. The guitar and vocal sound here is thinner than on previous tracks, but this just allows the drums to breath more. It features Moloch's trademark, anguished, high-pitched screams again, which sound pretty disconcerting here. It all ends very abruptly and leads into this demo's closer, On The Ground, by Blood.

This is the demo's outro and is another short instrumental. This is a calming way to end a varied demo. As I eluded to earlier, it's both the texture and sound, which makes it a great demo. If you can locate either a tape of CD-r copy, I strongly recommend that you pick it up, if you like ambient black metal, as this is a pretty important release.

Here's some pressing information for you, if you're trying to track down a copy:-

Russian label - Osolon Productions produced 500 tapes for a Russian pressing in 2004 -  http://osolon.narod.ru/.
Bulgarian label - After Many Funeral Records pressed 400 tapes also in 2004 (unfortunately I can't locate a valid link to this label)
Ukraine label - De Profundis Productions (now Depressive Illusions records) pressed 66 tapes with purely black covers in 2005 - http://depressiveillusions.com/.
Brazilian label - Unholy War Productions pressed 1000 tapes in 2007 (this label is now closed)
UK based label - Thorn Laceration Records pressed 500 copies which featured the bonus track "Black Metal Coldness" in 2009 - http://www.myspace.com/thornlaceration.

Depressive Illusions Records also produced 50 CD-r demo's - http://depressiveillusions.com/.

Moloch can be found via their own website at www.moloch.com.ua.

No comments:

Post a comment