The Sticky Ones are on the prowl again. Those named after the 1919 Boston Flood disaster that drowned, injured, or otherwise killed scores of people in a tsunami of sticky, sugary goo.
Morass of Molasses already got on our radar with their debut These Paths We Tread. An album that surely excels with its sticky sludge and sappy, somewhat slow-motion delivery of all types of Stoner-esque delights.
In many ways, their newest record The Ties that Bind really latches on to where its predecessor left off. They still stick all that fuzzy goodness that Stoner Rock and Metal are famous for onto all that moves. Albeit that they visited this psychedelic mushroom cloud a tad too often this time. And out comes a style that kinda combines brutal rock and an eerie mix of early Black Sabbath and a whiff of Valley of the Sun.
Morass of Molasses did ramp up the aggression, though. Typical Sludge Screams in best Hardcore fashion do abound all around the record. It appears that the band had a few more itches that needed to be scratched – and loudly.
And that is when their tune often almost descends into this harsh Punk Rock style. Until the bluesy fuzziness does remind us yet again that there’s more to their style than only bare-bone punk. But let’s put this in perspective. MoM’s interpretation is still way craftier on vocals than – for example – Waingro, where screams only are the brutal norm.
This does – however – lead to a certain inconsistency that plagues The Ties That Bind. This constant ying-yang from total Hardcore rage to “Yo, dude, pass me some pot” does have an effect on your neurons. And it’s not necessarily a good one.
And then, we get these excursions into Progressive Rock terrain. Like in Legends of the Five Suns that kinda reminds me of things reminiscent of Jethro Tull and their ilk. Only that I would have liked some more vigor that comes with any serving of flute on this record.
So and as some see it, Morass of Molasses may not exactly have gone into this with a plan. But after a while, the consistent variation between the woozy and total punk rage does start to get some substance. Our Sacred Skin – for instance – weans you off the bhang swiftly at mid-point. Once some trve anger starts to creep in.
But does this particular type of chaos breed opportunity?
Quite. Because after a while you start to kinda like this type of Milady’s Bath of hot and cold sludgy water in hazy darkness in the dungeon. Even if the aforementioned bizarre forays into pot country like As leaves Fall should definitely live somewhere in outer space. This goes together with a certain rough-hewn production that really does not allow for a lot of decent flow on this album.
Yet, slowly and after a few listens, Morass of Molasses starts to polish their very own sludgy brand of rock and metal. And always with these trademark two shots of bluesy Stoner and one shot of doom in the melée.
Down-home, sticky riffing with the rare solo here and there, the consistent and strangely meaty work of bass and excellent drum work do place this album where it needs to be. Oh, and speaking about solos, check out the one on Woe Betide, just after the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack played. It’s delicious gooey Stoner Metal, full of sticky liquid sugar.
In the end, to paint The Ties That Bind into the inconsistent, thus terrible corner – as some have indeed done – may be a tad too easy. Whilst there are certainly some things askew, by and large Morass of Molasses bring us a pretty sturdy piece of Sludge Rock that is quite tasty. Some may find that the gap between abject punkishness and the ’60s Stoner soundwaves is just too much to behold. But hey, we found that quirk kinda crafty. Even if the band may have visited the mushrooms a few times too many.
Ed’s note: Oh, and if all that stickiness annoys you, here is something much more extremely sludgy than the metal gods would allow. Enjoy!