I really liked 2018’s Jord, so it’s great to have some new material from MØL.
MØL play an effervescent blend of post-black metal and blackgaze, and on Diorama they deliver 47 minutes of the stuff.
MØL are a very stylish band, and these songs are very stylish songs. However, this is not a case of style over substance, as the music also boasts depth and longevity; buried beneath its glittering exterior lies a heart of darkness that draws you in over repeat listens and holds you close to the music’s cold heart; the band’s brightness is the lure of the predator, tempting its next victim close.
The melancholic savagery that you’ll find on Diorama is infectious, and you’ll find MØL’s modern and idiosyncratic take on post-black metal surprisingly moreish and repayable. The band’s aggressive beauty is compelling, frequently combining gorgeous ethereal melodies with heart-stopping violence. The promo blurb memorably refers to the band as sounding like “nasty glitter”, and I can’t really top that as a description of MØL’s otherworldly sound.
I love MØL’s ability to blend the beautiful and the harsh. I know I’m over-egging this somewhat, but it really is a defining feature of the music. A lot of blackgaze is not dark enough in mood and atmosphere for me, but MØL manage to balance brightness and viciousness really well. Most of the material here is on the former side of the scale, (otherwise it wouldn’t be blackgaze), but there’s more than enough of the latter, and done well enough, to compensate.
Alongside the above though it’s also important to note that on Diorama the band have pushed themselves further than previously, expanding their sound. Longer songs, clean singing, female vocals, and expressive synths are only some of the examples of this. It’s also less harsh, less fast, and more mid-paced and accessible. I hear a Swedish melodic death metal influence in places too, (think In Flames), as well as some latter-day Anathema, (especially on the album’s title track). Add to all of this an improvement in songwriting and a palpably greater sense of self, and you have an enjoyable and engaging album.
When I’m in the mood for something sharp and lethal that’s dressed to impress, Diorama hits the spot with murderous precision. MØL have followed up on the promise of the debut album big style.
Very highly recommended.