MORASS OF MOLASSES
These Paths We Tread – Vinyl//DD
HeviSike Records – Released May 19th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Last Friday, May 19th saw the release of the anxiously awaited new effort from the self-proclaimed “swamp master generals” Morass Of Molasses, ‘These Paths We Tread‘. The seven song follow up to their ‘So Flows Our Fate’ EP finds these heavyweights further building upon the sludge-ish stoner doom of that release while exploring some richly fertile new territories as well. Vocalist/bassist Bones ‘The Beard’ Huse, guitarist Phil ‘The Mountain’ Williams and drummer Chris ‘The Beast’ West act as our sonic guides upon an album that will splendidly please those that seek the very best in dense hard rock.
This latest offering from these Reading, UK-based purveyors of pummeling finds them dragging us in by the necks with our introduction to ‘My Leviathan‘. It may be their monstrosity but it is indeed our good fortune as the fluid grooves soon ignite after a brief, melodic intro. Guitars wail, rhythms pulsate and aggressive, bellowing yells resonate but then an oddly intriguing Pink Floyd-ian vocal delivery takes hold of the verses. The track truly serves as a mere warm up when compared to much of the other content included here.
From there we get the upbeat blues ‘n roll of ‘So They Walk‘, a highly energized number where grooves encircle every step. All while some trippy vocals narrate things and guitars wail away. The latter comes at you from all directions it seems while the former explores myriad avenues of delivery, from underbreath and softly spoken to emotional yelps. We get our first real chance to catch our breath for a moment with the tranquil intro of ‘Serpentine‘ before it too bursts loose for a few brief bars. It then quickly throttles down to a bit of groove-geared bluesiness also and from there, routinely builds and buckles beneath things. There’s even a dip or two into some wind-blewn psyche elements amid the fiery guitar work and, at over seven minutes in length, a lot of ground is explored.
The psychedelia stays on hand for the female chanted interlude that is ‘The Ritual‘ and then comes one of my favorite cuts from the record, ‘Centralia‘. After a bit of spoken word, news report-sounding snippets about a fire in the mining town of “Centralia in Columbia County”, the thick riffs ignite and smolder. Keeping things dialed down and in-the-pocket, the song’s hazy overtones are the ideal vehicle for the scorching guitars and crunchy drums. Varied spoken samples about the fire-ravaged residential area come and go, an area that stays inflammed due to underground seams of coal that continuously burn (something I know all too well about here in Kentucky’s coal country).
Another bit of mellow blues resonate before the doom-ish psychedelia of ‘Maenads‘ plods forth like a slow rolling lava flow. Slowly it churns and inches ever forward while the eclectic vocalizations constantly cycle through a variety of styling. The music maintains a mostly steamroller-like momentum while one of the more intriguing compenents of interest is the combustible drumming. ‘Wrath Of Aphrodite‘, the final track starts sedately enough but it is not destined to last for before you know it, a tempestuous onslaught of sonics are surrounding you. Uptempo they unfurl and totally take us along for the ride in this highly energized exercise of brazen, groovened blues.
Once again, Morass Of Molasses display why they are one of the more interesting of rock acts to rise above the din in recent times. Totally unique, uniquely intrepid..this trio is not afraid to experiment, to take chances and blaze their own trail to get where they feel they are being led. If you will, call Morass Of Molasses the pioneers upon…’These Paths We Tread‘.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker