Sometimes it feels good to drown your sorrows in stoner-esque fuzziness. Remembering times that can only be fathomed by those old enough to recall the sounds, smells and sticky feeling of sweaty underground music halls. Distorted goodness served on the holy platter of wah-wah in all its bluesy glory. This is soul healing remembrance indeed. From Zep to Black Sabbath and back we heard it all, now didn’t we? The gods of substance-induced wailing be praised. And many an old band has been down that very well-travelled road already.
Now, the good thing is that many new bands attempt to take that road still. The bad – by contrast – is the need to succeed in a genre that is pretty much sucked dry already. And this is where we find the UK-based band Morass of Molasses with their newest album These Paths We Tread. A morass indeed, if you don’t mind me sayin’.
As the lore goes, the name Morass of Molasses derives from the molasses disaster in Boston back in 1919. A sticky flood that killed and injured a score and wreaked general and wholesale destruction on the neighbourhood. Listening to their tune, this must have influenced the style and delivery of the band. And truly, These Paths We Tread features a groove-laden, syrupy and hardly viscous style of slowly marching riffs and heavy drums. With growls and clear voice alternating at a relatively rapid pace. At times this kind of feels like one of these old trucks, trundling heavily down that potholed highway to oblivion. Back in time, in the early 1900s. Where all was better than today. Right?
You will find nothing wrong with the musicianship, the delivery and the mixing/mastering job. All stoner elements are present, the way they were meant to be methinks. Yet there is always this feeling of something not quite there. A sentiment of loss would be too exquisite. But a taste of goals not quite achieved would describe it better. The feeling of something deliciously astray. A decadent morsel of sweet, sticky pleasure that did not happen – or almost happened. It is this small extra effort needed to render a good record outstanding.
And – believe me – I do like the retro look and feel of These Paths We Tread. Just lovely how the band gallivants between the substance-fueled era of the ’70s and modern times. In a very retro kind of way. Let’s not forget that this is – gosh – almost 50 years in the past. And it is still as powerful today, than it was back then. Minus the LSD enriched color palette and the mescaline induced dreams, I daresay. But then there are worse substances today than back in the day.
Now, Morass of Molasses definitely take a liking to disasters small and huge. The track Centralia really feeds on that one like the mighty underground fire it tries to depict. And they really take to this overall stickiness too, evoking lust, love and debauchery in their tune. Just listen to their last track Wrath of Aphrodite. Let me also point out Serpentine, a track of relaxed Southern groove. This one makes me want to put on my boots, kick the bike off its stand and roar down yonder highway. It’s that good.
The verdict? These Paths We Tread positively shines with solid, groovy and blues-laden Stoner Metal. Majestically flowing down these Southern Comfort drenched plains of the South in a sticky river of sludge. Morass of Molasses really reached into this trough of a distant past, pulled out a lot of the good and mixed well. Yet, I somehow miss this element of surprise, this gizmo, this subtle brainchild of their own making mixed into all of that gluey flood of lust, anger and doom. If they can manage that in the future, they’ll have something truly excellent going for them.
Now, should you get into the groove and invest a few bucks? You definitely should, if stoner is your game. The aforementioned shortcomings notwithstanding, These Paths We Tread positively shines. The RockmusicRaider offices will definitely be watching for new releases from this band.
And congratulations: The record safely made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome VI. Well done.
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