What’s in a name? Well, for Denmark’s MØL – pronounced ‘muhl’ and meaning ‘moth’ – quite a lot, actually.
“The moth seems small and insignificant, but the death’s-head hawkmoth is a venomous symbol,” explains Kim Song Sternkopf, whose icy howl forms part of MØL’s formidable swirl of black metal brutality cocooned in shoegaze warmth. “Our music is floaty and out-there, so the animal correlates to the vibe we’re putting out.”
Similar to the moth’s transformation from earthbound larva to patterned insect of the skies, MØL’s songs are a process of metamorphosis. Penumbra – taken from the band’s debut, JORD – moves from a blood-chilling battery of icy howls and blastbeats into serene guitar washes, before both elements collide in a surging explosion of catharsis. Naturally, change is a constant presence in Kim’s lyrics, too.
“Metaphorically, the main theme of the album is how everything changes. We see ourselves as more and something lasting, but we’re just a blip in comparison to the universe around us. We accept this change, but there’s also this longing for something constant and definitive.”
What sets the band – completed by Ken Lund Klejs on drums, guitarists Nicolai Busse Hansen and Frederik Lippert, and bassist Holger Rumph-Frost – apart from others cut from a blackgazing cloth is brevity. Where bands like Deafheaven and Alcest stretch out to 10-minute expanses, MØL condense their strange alchemy down to intense, shorter bursts.
“We do have some shoegaze parts,” agrees Kim, “but keeping somebody interested for a whole album and still being able to create soundscapes is the focus. I wouldn’t say that we’re playing pop, but maintaining that catchiness is a thing for us.”
And it seems to be working. Their dark, sticky blend has found them on national radio in Denmark, and caught the ear of Holy Roar, who signed the band to release JORD.
“They’re a knockout!” grins Kim. “Especially with bands like Rolo Tomassi. It’s a really exciting time to be participating in the whole scene.”
But what does their dark atmosphere give him?
“It gives me a sense of really embracing the moment,” he offers. “Even though it’s loud and it’s noisy, it’s like having a place of serene clarity.”
MØL’S new album JORD is out now on Holy Roar Records. Check it out on the stream below and catch the band on tour in the UK, at the following dates:
Words: James MacKinnon
24 London, Camden Black Heart (supporting Svalbard)
25 Nottingham, Soan (supporting Svalbard)
26 Bristol, Mother’s Ruin
27 Brighton, Green Door (Creeping Death Fest)