Molten – Dystopian Syndrome Review

Dystopia no longer exists in the realm of fiction. Fiction is reality. Falsities become truths, truths falsities. Who knows what’s true. This Christmas a mainstream British TV channel provided an alternative deepfake version of the traditional Queen’s speech, a warning against the proliferation of misinformation and fake news. When will metal be deepfaked? Will we even be able to tell if we’re listening to the machine? Are we deepfakes, howling through the vortex of the internet and providing energy to the lizard people? Who knows. Molten may be real or may not. Their debut Dystopian Syndrome—a blackened doomified death metal extravaganza—deals with a nightmare-like landscape of political horror, war, fantasy, and natural disasters. Here’s the first zombie-vaccine hit of the long winter of 2021.1

Dystopian Syndrome is characterized by a refreshing sense of reckless abandon. Catapults of corona and squealing squadrons of needles explode during openers “Shadows in Quarantine” and “Virulence.” Molten‘s death metal mask is crusted with filthy old school grooves, choked by gruff dueling vocals, and laced with melodic soloing. Molten‘s deathship is only in the air for a brief second before an ejection of full-throttled deathened bliss. “Virulence” chugs and settles into a hazy mist at its midpoint before exploding out again at its end; it’s seven minutes of solid old school brawn. Dystopian Syndrome oscillates between rousing stomps of knuckle-dragging death metal, burly downcast doom, and the occasional thrash blast. The band doesn’t hold back from squealing fretboard shred sessions regardless of the style playing, frequently drowning songs in melodic bliss. It is somewhat overdone, injected into tracks like “Dystopian Syndrome” haphazardly.

Molten dive into the shred without a parachute, slipping and sliding through the air playfully. This is fun; nasty fun. The double shot of “Holy Macabre” and “Zombie’s Curse” is instant and writhing, venom tipped glass-covered bricks to the face that churn frantically thanks to cranking bass drives and more timely use of soloing.2 “Zombie’s Curse” is punky-thrash to the core, embodying silliness and grit well. Vocally, too, Molten provide a sturdy gargle that’s inhuman but organic; a solid balance. Molten is better with shorter tracks, providing a quick jolt. With longer tracks like the seven-minute “Virulence” and ten-minute closer “Rising Embers” the band loses its volcanic intensity and instead trickles slowly along like a sad, premature spillage.

Ultimately, Molten cannot maintain their intensity consistently throughout Dystopian Syndrome. After the rip-roaring midsection of the record, Dystopian Syndrome begins to stagger. “On through Phlegethon” and “The Void” are equally bland and lacking punch. Both dig up old school riffs that should have stayed buried. “On through Phlegethon” fails to hook with melody or to batter with intensity, while “The Void” is a mere shadow of “Holy Macabre” and “Zombie’s Curse.” For the first time, Molten‘s sound is growing weary, their retro gait becoming rheumatic. Wobbling into ten-minute closer “Rising Embers” and hanging onto the ropes, Molten does manage to regain its form; but only just. Its sultry and steady build should work as a counterbalance to the previous tracks, however, their lack of impact dulls the steady beginning of “Rising Embers.” It’s a slow burner that swirls, slides, and shimmies with melodic riffing and tumbling drum fills at its end; solid if predictable.

Dystopian Syndrome is like a volcanic eruption. The volcano explodes and chaos ensues, lava spews and molten carnage spreads. But too soon, it begins to trickle before finally solidifying. Only the odd bubble of excitement breaking through. The magical vibrancy of the opening loses its potency. By the end of the record, once the smoke has settled, Dystopian Syndrome reveals itself as a record of promise and potential that fails to reach epic heights. Molten have produced a mostly good outing as a whole but is unable to maintain the intensity, leaving the listener uninspired. In a world of amazing death metal, Dystopian Syndrome rides the middle ground, but it could have been so much more.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Goathell Records
Website: molten666.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/molten666
Releases Worldwide: January 15th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Someone’s weed needs to be confiscated. – Ed.
  2. I have no idea what this means. Please see me after class. – AMG
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