Moloch: Band Of The Day

By on 13 March 2014


I’m just going to come out and say it; Moloch are one of the best sludge bands in the UK right now. Sure, there’s no shortage of bands at the moment who are more than willing to give you a fairly impressive impersonation of Eyehategod at the drop of a hat, but many of them don’t really seem to inject any of their own personality (or, indeed, vitriol) into the proceedings. There are a handful of bands pushing the genre into strange new pastures and incorporating a lot of the atmospheric flourishes of post-metal, black metal and everything in between, which is all well and good of course, but when it comes to that bitter, gloriously pissed off, heavier-than-the-sullen-eyes-of-a-junkie sludge sound that was so prevalent in the mid ’90s, you’ll be hard pushed to find any contemporary British releases that could match the intensity of records like ‘Come To Grief’ or ‘Erode The Person’. Well, until you dig into Moloch’s back catalogue, of course…

The Nottingham quartet pretty much encapsulate everything I love about this grotty little subgenre. They can bust out that NOLA style swagger with aplomb (that riff at the end of ‘Black Water’, god damn…), but they’re also more than capable of enveloping you in the kind of all-consuming dirges that Grief used to specialise in (‘The Miscarriage Of Sister Faith’, the closing track from their last full-length ‘Possession’, will completely ruin your entire week), as well as throwing in some weird, head spinning riffs that recall Noothgrush’s obtuse groove in it’s prime (just wrap your ears around the humongous ‘All Eyes Blinded’ from their split with Closure for proof). But this is more than mere hero worship at play here; rather than just going through the motions and allowing nerdy sludge aficionados to play influence bingo, Moloch have managed to pay tribute to that classic sludge sound whilst also carving out their own niche within it, imbuing each and every note with a very British sense of despair, hatred and misery, and arriving at their own distinctive sound in the process.

And if their two most recent splits are anything to go by, that sound is still evolving. Their split with New Zealand filth mongers Meth Drinker gave us the tortured ‘Vomit Phobia’ and the terrifying ‘Hunchback’, a song that takes it’s single lyric from a quote from sinister horror film ‘Kill List’ (“They are bad people. They should suffer.”) and repeats it like a sordid mantra over a punishing death march that recalls ‘Cop’ era Swans. Meanwhile, their apocalyptic split with Canadian misanthropes Ensorcelor finds the band pushing into slower, more long-form territory that’s almost like a more overtly hardcore influenced incarnation of Japan’s doom kings, Corrupted.

With more releases on the horizon and a huge increase in the amount of UK tinnitus sufferers following recent shows with the likes of Conan, Cloud Rat, Iron Lung and more, we decided to get in touch with guitarist Steve Larder to find out more about Moloch’s future, the art of the split release, and why the band’s writing process is “an introverted, brutal dictatorship”…

WORDS: Kez Whelan

FOR FANS OF: Noothgrush, Grief, Iron Monkey
LATEST RELEASE: Moloch / Ensorcelor Split (Psychic Assault)
WEBSITE: Facebook & Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how Moloch got together?
Steve (Larder, guitar): “Moloch started with Chris and Rob who played in a hardcore band and wanted to do something heavier. Craig joined on bass and Rob’s brother started on drums. It didn’t work out with Rob’s brother, so Dan replaced him (having never played on drums before) and that was that.”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Steve: “Steve and Henry joined the band after guitarist and drummer, Rob and Dan left. By then, Moloch already had a established ‘sound’ of sorts. When Craig left and Harry joined on bass, it essentially became a different band with Chris on vocals being the sole original member. The sound has evolved in some ways,  I think that’s mostly to do with different people being involved . However, we’re conscious of retaining some sort of consistency, but I’d say we’re also much more comfortable in adding elements which feel like a natural progression.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
Steve: “While we don’t necessarily wear our influences on our sleeve, it might be obvious to notice who we take some cues from. There’s tons of bands and artists who we mutually agree on, I think we’re generally influenced by people who retain some sort of honesty and integrity with their work.”

How does the writing process normally tend to work out for you guys? Will you all come together with individual ideas for songs already formed, or are the song normally born out of jams instead?
Steve: “I’ve never been fond of ‘jamming’, it just feels awkward and too much like a cacophony to be able to focus properly.  Most Moloch songs come out of an introverted, brutal dictatorship with the majority of the song already intact ready for each meeting.  Every now and then we stumble across a happy accident, but it’s rare.”

It’s been a couple of years since your last full­-length release, is there any chance we’ll get to hear a new album sometime soon?
Steve: “Nothing planned for the near future, but we’re always writing new material so who knows?”

You put out two amazing splits last year, what would you say are the advantages to releasing splits as opposed to full lengths?
Steve: “I suppose financially it has an incentive, as well as distribution. Chris handles a lot of things in this area through his label/distro, Feast of Tentacles.”

How do you decide which bands you’d like to release a split with? If you could release a split with any band, past or present, who would it be?
Steve: “They’re usually people we already know and/or through labels/distros who we’ve worked with before.”

It seems like Nottingham has quite a reputation for producing great sludge bands. Why do you think this is?
Steve: “Maybe there’s something in the water.”

What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
Steve: “Being able to travel every now and then as a direct result of playing music is something I enjoy a lot. We’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people along the way. The worst thing is the constant ringing in my ears.”

What’s next for Moloch?
Steve: “We have a split 7” with the Canadian band, Haggatha which will hopefully be released in May. It’s being put together as a joint effort between Dry Cough Records (UK), Choking Hazard (Ca) and Graanrepubliek Records (Hol).”

About Kez Whelan

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