On the Radar: Mollusk

Once you get past the droning noise intro “Mirrored Sphere” on their self-titled debut and “Endless Mountains” kicks in hard, Cincinnati/Pittsburgh outfit Mollusk remind almost immediately of defunct Maryland post-doomcore smashers Swarm of the Lotus. They have a similar method of invoking violent bombast and slamming on the breaks mid-thrash to really drive home the painfulness the music seems to want to convey. The Mollusk lineup that recorded the full-length Mollusk — I don’t care if it’s only 24 minutes long; this is an album — consisted of  drummer/vocalist Chase Schleyer and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Neal Hunter, and they’ve since been joined by Zach Hendrickson as the third in a trio born out the band Sabre.

If you don’t recall Sabre — I bet you didn’t know there’d be a quiz — they put out a couple tapes and had a self-titled full-length reviewed in Dec. 2010. Hunter and Schleyer were in that band, and though Sabre‘s Sabre lacked nothing in vitriol, Mollusk‘s Mollusk outclasses it for sheer percussive heft. To further the case, the two-minutes of “Human Artifact” leave bruises in places bruises shouldn’t go, and with a more dynamic production, Mollusk is able to maintain the rawer side of post-whathaveyou that made Sabre so intriguing while also moving forward creatively and sounding in general more mature and aware of what they’re doing.

The album skillfully plays atmospherics off aggression, and though they’re not the first to do it, they do it well, and I’m more inclined to listen to Mollusk‘s Mollusk and hear what works than the areas of the band’s approach wanting further development. Both Schleyer and Hunter have a dry-throated take on screaming, and that adds consistency to what’s both a quick trip and already pretty consistent at that, but somehow the instrumental “Aphelion” makes for one of the album’s best transitions into the groovier malevolence of “Monuments.” And as “The Apathetic” rounds out the record — at 4:59, it’s the longest track included — it indeed brings a show of potential for more songwriting variety to come.

I thought Sabre were pretty cool for what they were doing and the fact that they were just getting started. As Hunter and Schleyer seem to have taken the lessons from that self-titled and put them to work on this one, I can only see it as an improvement. The band has made it easy enough for you to judge for yourself, though, either by checking out their website, their SoundCloud (where you can download the record for free), their Bandcamp (where it is available as a limited cassette) or their Thee Facebooks page, all of which lead you to the music one way or another. However you might choose to get there, please consider it an undertaking recommended.

Here’s the Bandcamp player, in case you don’t feel like traveling:

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