A modern version of post-punk’s claustrophobic bleakness
Storm clouds are gathering over Europe. Society is riven with tensions and uncertainty, reminiscent of the turbulent, violent past we thought had been left behind. Some bands have perfectly captured this mood, anxiety and unrest fuelling their creativity as they seek to make sense of the madness – bands like Molchat Doma. The trio have been dubbed “the Belarusian New Order of our generation”, but that’s not quite right – they have far more in common with the gloomy nihilism of that band’s forebearer, Joy Division, a bleak, claustrophobic quality that’s like sinking into a pool of tar.
Formed in 2017, in their hometown of Minsk, the trio take inspiration from early 80s post-punk and new wave, a visceral, intense mix of metallic drums, ominous synths, and melancholic bass lines. Some tracks sound like they were conceived using basic Casio keyboard presets; others borrow from Krautrock’s motoric grooves. But all burn with a deep seated despair and frustration, Yegor Shkutko’s vocals sounding anguished and distant. The sparse, cold production of second album Etazhi also sounds oddly futuristic, the crushing soundtrack to some dank, cyberpunk dystopia.
There’s not a huge amount of information around about the band, nor have they done much press. But this is surely deliberate; content to let the music speak for itself, they’ve toured extensively, and have numerous showcase festivals already pencilled into their 2019 diary. Feel good music this is not, but the beauty of their stark, icy songs is no less compelling.