After their emotional tribute to the sadly departed The Devil’s Blood guitarist and vocalist Selim Lemouchi at Roadburn in 2014, many had hoped the glowing embers might yet spark a strange new fire, and the faithful were rewarded when Molassess, led by Selim’s sister and TDB vocalist Farida Lemouchi, took the stage at the same festival last year.
Now, after just an EP’s worth of recorded material, the band have re-emerged with a startling full-length that both exceeds and defies expectations. And while the talent, history and intricate layers of connective tissue mean similarities and throughlines can be identified, Through The Hollow makes clear that this is very much a singular, standalone entity with its own distinct vision.
As one might expect, much of this hinges on Farida’s striking and versatile voice, though the unexpected and unforeseen pathways taken by the rest of the band – particularly guitarists Oeds Beydals and Ron van Herpen – should certainly not be underestimated. This said, the album begins in relatively unassuming manner, with the title track trickling slowly into life with slippery, silvery melodies and only slowly building towards a full head of steam. From here on in the band weave together a truly kaleidoscopic array of influences and inferences, from the wild disco-prog of Death Is and the wonky, Alice In Chains-esque melodies of The Maze Of Stagnant Time to the epic Formless Hands, which begins with a dark, funky pulse and takes in Italian horror soundtrack bloops before reaching a chanted, ritualistic crescendo.
Through The Hollow is a truly progressive, truly psychedelic piece of work that’s loaded with baroque pleasures and musical ideas that are as hard to grasp as moonbeams – an album that might have been born of tragedy, but has seen its players dig deep to find strength and power amid all the cruel and unfathomable sorrows.