Møl – Diorama (Nuclear Blast)

Blackgaze. Post-metal. Blackened alt-rock…

Whatever label you want to attach to Møl, one thing is undeniable: the Danes make incredible, life-affirming extreme music.

Their 2018 debut album, Jord, seemed to come out of nowhere.

But in a short space of time, it became of that year’s most revered records.

The immense queue to see these newcomers at 2018’s Damnation Festival attested to the band’s instant impact.

Now signed to Nuclear Blast – who must have known a good thing when they saw it – Møl have moved up a level.

And we’re not just talking about their global profile.

For the Aarhus outfit have somehow managed to better Jord.

It will certainly take a lot to keep Diorama out of the AOTY lists…

As soon as Fraktur spirals into view, all soaring guitars and percussive urgency, you know that Møl have continued on their upward curve. Kim Song Sternkopf’s harsh rasp – and the band’s underlying bite – ensure that while the band’s sparkling melodies seduce, the storm still rages.

Key to the quintet’s titanic songcraft is a sense of focus.

They eagerly employ the tools of black metal, shoegaze and post rock, yet never meander away from a track’s core purpose.

Photophobic, for instance, sees Møl deftly balance blastbeat-driven aggression, hardcore punch and intricate, cascading guitar and vocal melodies. But like Vestige and Redacted, it’s built around a cathartic chorus: there is excitement and danger at every turn.

Or just listen to Tvesind. Here, the band unleash black metal hellfire in one of their most powerful songs to date, yet they temper that fury with moments of pure euphoria.

In some hands, this approach would result in a mish mash mess.

However, like fellow Scandinavians Kvelertak, they make it work. Gloriously.  

Indeed, every song on Diorama is unmistakeably Møl.

And from Fraktur to the concluding title track – a masterwork featuring the ethereal vocals of Sylvaine’s Katherine Shephard – there is a sense of cohesion and confidence.

Exhilarating and enthralling, Diorama is a statement of intent from Møl. And on their second full-length, they’ve more than lived up to the hype.

Main band photo: Sebastian Apel.