Poland’s been the source of some great metal over the years. Behemoth probably comes to mind first, being that Nergal’s the master of controversy and the court room. But putting that aside, there’s Vader, Decapitated, Hate and Lux Occulta, who along with many others have been delivering the goods and then some. Somewhere in the throng, the talents of one-man, black metal or dark ambient artist, Fabian Filiks (Moloch) of Zørormr became a little obscured. Three-albums into Moloch’s career, Zørormr have proved they’re worthy of our attention with The Aftermath, a 6-track EP set for a limited release of 510 copies. How does this little offering fit in with Zørormr‘s earlier endeavors, you might ask? Consistently. Not only does this brief taste of The Aftermath contain the same eclecticism and crossing of genres used in Corpus Hermetcum and IHS, but there’s a definite continuation of melodies and ideas from Zørormr‘s very first release Kval. If you enjoy what’s coming up next you’ll surely want to work your way backwards.
The Aftermath gets off to a solid start with “The Last Judgement.” Thunderous, solitary drum-work preempts climactic conditions, setting an agonized backdrop for the Behemoth-like guitar interpretation. There’s familiarity to the arrangement, but it’s not a direct appropriation. Moloch’s evil whispers cut through with malice, Satan and Lucifer’s names stand out to the ear, and at times Moloch’s murmur reminds me of 1349‘s Ravn clouded by Gehenna‘s Sanrabb. Moloch’s drumming comes across as engaging, somewhat creative and solemn, his rhythm guitar contributes a more ritualistic element and a high-reaching solo with clear Van Halen influence seals the deal. “The Last Judgement” is a solid track and it’s memorable – win!
Moloch doesn’t drop the ball for a moment across “The Crawling Chaos,” “The Adversary” or the title track. “The Crawling Chaos” starts strong in a Metallica black album fashion before falling back onto oddball keyboards that could have been liberated from Vesania‘s Distractive Killusions, finishing up with another big solo that’s comparable to “The Last Judgement.” “The Adversary” continues on in the same fashion, stratified mutters vying for your attention, raw and roughened drum-lines reverberating, and then there’s the trilling, melodic doom-death guitar melodies that ring out with the style and clarity of Insomnium or While Heaven Wept. The Aftermath is successfully brought to a close with the title track – an instrumental that on the first note makes me think Guns ‘n Roses, but on the second note feels instantly darker, exacerbated by this trickster again following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Vesania.
At least that’s how The Aftermath should have ended, and that’s how I plan to return to it. Instead, Moloch saw fit to add two additional tracks recorded back in 2010 and 2011. “Arise, Cthulhu, Arise!” and “Zorormr” contribute nothing and stand so far apart from the earlier part of the EP that they’re jarring in an unnecessary and unpleasant fashion. If you’re willing to adjust your headphones and settle in, be prepared for “Arise, Cthulhu, Arise!,” a weird attempt at creating a sloppy Impetigo/Vesania montage, chanting for the return of Cthulhu using old-timey 80’s era production values. And “Zorormr” – what can I say here… a throwaway track that plays out like a cheesy, old-school movie soundtrack where the protagonist is being chased – it’s repetitive and the production just sounds dated.
As I understand it, The Aftermath signals the close of the first era of Zørormr‘s project history. Thus the EP consists of four tracks from the band’s Corpus Hermetcum era and one track each from IHS and Kval. I suppose that this would be a great addition for anyone already a fan of Zørormr. However, to somebody only discovering the band through this release, it’s a disjointed affair. Barring the last two tracks, Zørormr put together an EP that’s memorable, represents their sound well, has some quirky variety, and successfully prompted me towards the band’s discography. Job well done. If this review spikes your interest, check out The Aftermath, and perhaps even get Timur Khabirov‘s cover artwork as a tattoo – it’s pretty bad-ass as far as skulls go!