Review: Morass of Molasses – These Paths We Tread

HVSK-1218.jpgWritten by Gary Hernandez

For those readers who follow me in Metal at the Gates, you’ll recall in my last piece I promised I would craft my very next review in the haiku. This is obviously not a haiku. I have failed you. Consider this disappointment a life lesson. What doesn’t disappoint, however, is These Paths We Tread, the latest release from Morass of Molasses. Unlike me, Morass of Molasses doesn’t fail to deliver; instead they serve up seven tracks of sludgy, high caliber stoner metal dripping with thick but surprising agile riffs.

The last time we heard from these boys was in 2015 with their EP, So Flows Our Fate. Four tracks of mind-blowing, mentholated metal. (That there is what we call alliteration.) Two years later, here they are again, nail-studded cricket bat in hand.

Somewhere along the line someone gave the band the moniker of “swamp master generals.” Now, the band hails from Reading in Berkshire, England. Not any swamps around there that I recall—but then again I’m American and therefore am crap at geography. I have to assume when people refer to swamp metal, they aren’t thinking geography but are referring to the thick, lethal groove the band oozes like . . . well, like molasses.

Like so many stoner metal bands, Morass of Molasses is a deep running group. The tunes on So Flows Our Fate center on macabre historical disasters. The first track, as well as the band’s name, for instance, both recall the Boston molasses disaster of 1919 when a tank of molasses breached, releasing a 15-foot wave of molasses rolling at 35 mph, laying to waste a wide swath of the town and killing 21 people. Yeah, that happened. And then they named a band after it who then rocked out a song about it that will eat your marrow.

With These Paths We Tread the band decided to take on a grander theme, exploring the darker aspects of the human condition using myths such as Leviathan, Dionysus, Maenads, Aphrodite, and something serpentine—Medusa, Lamia, the serpent goddess?

The best track amongst the batch is ‘Wrath of Aphrodite,’ wherein Bones The Beard ominously intones: “Hell hath no fury like a goddess scorned.” I’ll take his word on it. ‘So They Walk’ and ‘My Leviathan’ rattled my teeth. ‘The Ritual’ lent some atmosphere and I am sure has more merit than I’m giving it credit for here. If the album was a movie, it’s during ‘The Ritual’ that you’d run to the bathroom or grab another beer.

All together, the multilayered depth of Morass is a thing that amazes. Consider: A simple power trio—bass, guitar, drums with musicianship like Zappa riding the lightning coupled with lyrical sensibility that comes from the heart of the metal tribe. This is music that bears repeating. When you stop reveling in the riff, a couplet or two catches you, triggering deep if not dark ruminations on life, the universe, and everything.

When you have a chance, pick up These Paths We Tread. After your brain is numb, set it down and order up So Flows Our Fate and do it all over again. These guys are the real deal. 8/10

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