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Ukraine's Moloch has been churning out albums for about a decade, mixing ultra-raw black metal with soothing, plaintive synthesizers (sometimes both together). On this release, Moloch has elected to go with the latter: unfortunately, this is a terrible idea. The first five tracks are - somehow - part of some kind of synthetic family; each track presses forward (though let's not be too kind there) in a way that each track seems to be related. What really happens is that the songs sound nearly identical: sampled wind gusts, frozen atmospheres, the spectre of a bass every now and then. Not particularly riveting.
Moloch has his moments, just not here. But for a man with so many releases, who could be surprised? Over the years, Moloch has released dozens upon dozens of demos, EPs, splits, full-lengths - and so I'm clear, this isn't necessarily a BAD thing; in fact, many bands pull it off just fine. And sometimes Moloch does too. But on this record, the monotony is just too great. One feels isolated in a singular musical moment; there's nothing daring, courageous, or inventive about these songs. They all fall together in a lump.
It seems Moloch has decided that, rather than wait a few turns, he'll have just one more: no, he'll have all the turns. By all means necessary. What we have here is just another low-key entry into a discography that is already overstuffed with tripe and the most celebratory of jejune stuff. Avoid this album - he certainly has better things to offer, somewhere.
Abstrakter Wald begins with the first of five tracks of the same name, which have been separated into five different movements. Abstrakter Wald I is the opening movement, featuring ambient strings and keys and the howl of the wind in the background, adding to the haunting atmosphere.
As Abstrakter Wald I builds, with it's drawn out bass line, that sits below the main melodies, it's obvious that this is very different to the more black metal output that normally comes from Moloch. For those of you who've listened to previous records, you'll notice that there is ambient influences within the music, so this set of songs shouldn't come as a surprise. The soundscapes on show are dramatic yet dreamy and they do well to keep Moloch's mystical aesthetic intact.
All of the songs here seem to lead into each other, as if they're telling a story. Abstrakter Wald III is more subtle than the previous two tracks, but nonetheless still retains the mysteriousness that has been on show throughout. I'll be honest and say that I haven't reviewed music like this before and have found it challenging, but I guess that is what this music is supposed to do. It's there to challenge people's preconceptions about music that doesn't fit into specific genres or sub-genres
Once you've turned over to side B of this release, the fourth and fifth Abstrakter Wald movements greet you. These follow the same recipe as those before. Quiet and otherworldly soundscapes that transport you to another place entirely. At this point, you do seem to get lost in the music, and the songs do seem to blur into each other to show one cohesive whole.
You're also treated to two ambient tracks from Moloch's split with Tomhet that was released in 2011, but on this releases the songs titles are in German - Wo die Winde für immer weinen and Berge umhüllt von uraltem Nebel. These tracks follow the same formula too and when the tape comes to an end, you’re left feeling incredibly relaxed and in awe of this set on songs.
To think that someone synonymous with bleak, original black metal has the vision and conviction to produce something like this, just shows the breadth of originality that is still to be unearthed within the wider metal stratosphere. While this isn't metal, it can sure as hell be appreciated as it shares a lot of the values, namely originality and integrity.