All you need to know about Engrossed in Decay, the sophomore full length from Joliet, Illinois band Molder can be found in that album font. No, not the band name – the album font. There is just something about seeing super-detailed, visceral artwork, a quasi-decipherable band logo and….the album name in Italicized Arial font. In quotes, no less. I see something like that and I grin ear to ear, because I know…I feel it in my bones. I’m about to get blasted with some old school groove in pocket death metal that’s going to carry my decomposed body and leave it on the curb, Obituary style. In other words, I’m all in.
It’s reductive though to simply categorize Molder as “old-school death metal.” That component is certainly there, and lays the foundation for the band’s sound, but as evidenced on the band’s early demos, EPs and especially 2020’s debut Vanished Cadavers there’s striking elements of moshing d-beat thrash and a technicality recalling bands like Deceased and Mortician, among others. The chugging attack of songs like “Granulated Chunks” and “The Sweet Taste of Death” feel simultaneously old and new, injecting a sense of fun while taking the execution of the music seriously. Getting signed to Prosthetic seems to have amped up the production to even beefier levels, allowing Engrossed in Decay a deeper fit in the pocket, as it were.
That pocket is not only deep; it’s filled with filth and scum and copious amounts of viscera. “Glutinous Remains” kicks the album off and when you have dive bombs screeching over a chugging kick drum attack you have me. Aaren Pantke (also on vocals) and Carlos Santini know how maximize their two-guitar attack, and the riffs ricochet from machine-gun staccato to scuzzed out power chord frenzies that never get tired. The title track veers from whiplash inducing attacks to a mid-paced lurch that is fantastic. The album is peppered with vintage horror soundbites match the lyrical content: when you have track titles like “Disinhumed Carcass Revived” and the hilariously named “Huff The Stench” you expect a certain tone to be carried throughout, and Engrossed in Decay pulls that off with aplomb. And speaking of “Huff The Stench” the rhythm section of Kyle Pooley on drums and Dominic Vaia on bass is great, tight and up front in the mix to really carry the rhythmic quality of the riffs throughout the album.
That font says everything, folks. It tells you that Molder know their death metal roots, appreciate them, and plan to invoke the spirits of their filthy forebears to the upmost. Who would’ve thought such an innocuous font would come to represent the darkest of the dark, the bowels of de-tuned guitars and barking orations to all sorts of bodily fluids?
Molder knew, and Engrossed in Decay is the proof.