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Molten – Dystopian Syndrome Award winner

Dystopian Syndrome
by Thomas Kumke at 06 February 2021, 8:29 PM

MOLTEN hailing from San Francisco, California was founded in 2017. They are a Death/Thrash Metal band which combine Death Metal with Thrash Metal and Doom Metal as well as they include Progressive Metal and Hardcore elements. They released their debut EP in 2019 and “Dystopian Syndrome” is their full-length debut. “Dystopian Syndrome” was produced by Greg Wilkinson (DEATHGRAVE; VASTUM) at Earhammer studio in Oakland, California. It was released via US label Goathell Records which is specialized in Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal. There is no video release so far from the album. “Dystopian Syndrome” has a length of almost 43 minutes.

Dystopian Syndrome” is predominantly a Thrash Metal album that offers a smart mix of Thrash, Doom, and melodic Death Metal. The classic inspired harmonic intro transitions into “Virulence”, which is the first landmark of the album, since it sums up many elements of MOLTEN’s sound. It has an aggressive and driving rhythm at good head-banging tempo with catchy guitar riffs and lead guitar sequences. The deep-lying growling vocals fit perfectly into the sound. There are numerous breaks throughout the seven minutes with the first one played at breakneck speed including a comprehensive lead guitar solo immediately followed by a slow and dark melodic part. The harmonies used as well as in the following “Dystopian Syndrome” remind me on the sound of a well-known Swedish melodic Death Metal band. The title song follows the same approach, perhaps a bit more melo-death oriented in terms of the lead guitars. The middle break is dark and doom-laden which adds to the darkness of the song. The lead guitar solos include some great harmonic melodies, and, again inspired by the best what Sweden has to offer in melodic Death Metal.

The middle part of the album is a bit faster and more aggressive. While “Holy Macabre” still has the melodic and lead guitar-driven basis, “Zombie’s Curse“ is slightly different. It is raw, aggressive, and the rhythm is driven by Hardcore elements although it still includes a middle break with a harmonic lead guitar solo. “On Through Phlegethon” has its basis in classical mid-tempo Thrash Metal. It has a powerful, catchy head-banging rhythm with great guitar riffs and strong bass lines. The guttural vocals are versatile across the vocal range including a few screams. “The Void” is again played at faster speed but leans more towards melo-death, especially during the middle break, which includes for this album typical extended trademark lead guitar solos.

The final song “Rising Embers” is worth extra mentioning not only because it is with more than 10 minutes the longest song on “Dystopian Syndrome”. It is the best piece of music that MOLTEN has to offer on this album. It is a variety of all styles on this album compressed into one song. Starting with a slow and dark opening, it quickly transitions into a highly paced Thrash Metal driven part with aggressive, crunching riffs and a dark sound. The lead guitar solos during that part fit perfectly and show the high quality of guitarrists Gary Goudreau and Chris Corona. Highlight is the middle break with the extended melo-death inspired harmonic lead guitar solos. It all transitions back to the Thrash Metal theme from the beginning before it fades out with a piano and an organ part. “Rising Embers” is the highlight on the album for me.

Dystopian Syndrome” combines the best of Thrash Metal and melodic Death Metal enriched by the best elements of other genres. It is an excellent debut album and it is driven by the melodic and harmonic guitar play. While drums, bass, and vocals provide a strong backbone, the guitars stand out on the album. MOLTEN is capable to perfectly combine aggressive rhythms, brutal vocals, darkness of lyrics, and harmonic melodies to an album that honors the band’s idols, yet it has its own identity and it is authentic. The album is well produced. “Dystopian Syndrome” is an album that should belong to the collection of every Thrash Metal and Melodic Death Metal fan.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Shadows In Quarantine
2. Virulence
3. Dystopian Syndrome
4. Un Selpucro De Honor
5. Holy Macabre
6. Zombie’s Curse
7. On Through Phlegethon
8. The Void
9. Rising Embers
Brandon Bristol – Vocals
Gary Goudreau – Guitars
Chris Corona ­ Guitars
Damon Lockaby – Drums
Herman Bandala – Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Goathell Records


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