EPs pt II: Kylver + Morass of Molasses

Following on from EPs pt I where we saluted and celebrated the four-to-five track format, we now have the entirely expected follow-up: EPs pt II, a heavy prog and metallic grunge double-header from the north east and the south of England. The arteests? Kylver and Morass of Molasses respectively, so let’s crack on, shall we?

Kylver: The Mountain Ghost

With just four tracks spread over 38 minutes, and a concept about mountain spirits – not to mention a Prog Rock CD appearance earlier this year – The Mountain Ghost by Newcastle’s Kylver is stacked with all the vital prog statistics, but unlike most of the stuff that makes it onto that magazine’s CDs, this lot actually have some beef behind ’em, summat to satisfy those of us with metal roots. This is Muscular Prog, all tough riffage and thick keyboards, yet the usual weakness with such bands – The Concept – never gets in the way because the concept itself is completely unexplained, barring the song titles (The Mountain Ghost, The Feast of the Mountain Ghost, The Dance of the Mountain Ghost, The Death of the Mountain Ghost).

No vocals, see. No lyrics. And so, no concept. Which means you can just rock out to what’s really a 38-minute instrumental divvied up into sections linked by recurrent riffs and motifs. Prog mag’s Limelight feature in the October issue said they sound like Kyuss jamming with Yes, but I reckon there’s more of a Steven Wilson solo thing (non-ethereal Wilson, that is) mixed with Voivod’s detached sci-fi cool … check the double-kick drum at the end of Dance of…, then play Voivod’s version of Astronomy Domine. Similar beatiness, no? Find out about Kylver right here.

Morass of Molasses: So Flows Our Fate

Reading’s Morass of Molasses were part of an Oxford stormer this year when they supported Mother Corona at the Wheatsheaf and their debut EP, So Flows Our Fate, doesn’t let their live show down … but you knew that already. We wouldn’t wanna spread the word if it were shite, would we? 

Unlike Kylver, there are no conceptual pretensions here. MoM’s MO is to carve big ol’ riffs with metallic, psyche and stoner swagger in a mass of body-swinging grooves, and opening track Rotten Teeth does exactly that – for about 50 seconds. Then it melts into a mellow mini breakdown. Wrong footed or what? But the riff roars back, showing that that early shift is the move of a confident bunch of mofos who aren’t afraid to go where the mood takes. Elsewhere on this four-tracker we get wah solos (Ashtabula), doomed desert blues (Fear to Tread) and, best of all, Bear River‘s wasted heaviness, all of which points to a future album that could go in many directions. Fans of Wiseblood-era Corrosion, Down and the like should love this, but start your MoM discovery here and let’s hope for stacks more Molasses in the nearest of futures.

NEWS JUST IN: Lemmy passed away in the small hours and surely there is no-one in hard rock’s realm who cannot have been influenced in some way by Mr Kilmister and his road dogs. Sad sad news. May both he and Motorhead get the airtime and the tributes they deserve. BRING THE NOISE, BRING THE ROCK AND ROLL.


OXFORD WHEATSHEAF, August 27, 2015

Funny how some gigs just feel like home. Last week, Steve Harris was at the O2 with British Lion – upstairs, no less – so when a metal legend is that close, you gotta go. MAIDEN: the Iron One. No wonder it was packed, and yet for all the musicianship and energy and sweat and conviction of the Lions, not to mention the bass-gun pointing from ‘arris (classic), their anthemic mid-tempo Maiden-lite didn’t really roar …. solid enough but kinda careful. Made me want to dig out some Maiden proper.

Tonight in the Wheatsheaf, though, is a different kettle of scaley ones. I know next to nowt about Morass of Molasses or Mother Corona EXCEPT for the promise of heavy stoner action from Reading and Didcot respectively, so I am completely in their hands – and they abso-fucking-lutely deliver.

Morass of Molasses: mid-tempo, bottom-heavy rifferama, lifted by spacious bluesy flow. GO SEE THIS BAND. They’ve got an EP out called So Flows Our Fate and the only downer is that it’s only four songs long (apols for buying CD not vinyl after the gig, Morass fellas. Mr Bones tried his best).

Mother Corona, another trio, rock a similar path except they do it with a drummer vocalist and – if my eyes ain’t doing porky lies – a bassist with five strings. Oh, and the World’s Biggest Mother Corona Fan is on stage at all times ‘coz no.1 fanboy seems to be their very own guitarist Lee, who can’t help showing his big big love for what songwriter Dave (drums/vox) pulls together:

“Dave writes the songs, it’s awesome, he’s … a prick!”

“I am,” agrees Dave.

Can’t possibly comment on a stranger’s prick-or-not status, but what we can comment on is Mother Corona’s stellar stoner-age grooves, as you might expect from a band who’ve been on the road with Orange Goblin. Nice bit of psyche shimmer on the guitar, clean Billy Corgan-ish vocals, faultless devotion to rocking out, this is infectious stuff. Vertigo Terror, Back to Hell and Reburn (I think) are among the Corona chewns getting the ‘sheaf going, while mid-set covers of Sabbath (Into the Void – natch – and Sabotage mother lode Hole in the Sky) stoke things further and a closing I Wanna Be Your Dog are pretty perfectly pitched in my book. GO SEE THIS BAND.

Like I said, some gigs feel like home. Best of the year so far pour moi.