Molten Husk with Joscha Bauer
Art, layout: Joscha Bauer Cover photography: Nicolas Wefers Band photography: Sulphurous Visions
Following up the critically acclaimed ‘Bonds Of Euphoria’ LP, Abest has come back swinging with an even more unruly mix between metal and hardcore. ‘Molten Husk’ is their most forward-thinking work yet, finding the band breaking through the barriers of contemporary post-metal. It continues where ‘Bonds Of Euphoria’ left off but pushes the boat out even further, incorporating influences from different genres and a constant personal and musical progression.
The lead single ‘Into A Mirrored Hall’ showcases the immense diversity that Abest’s new LP is bringing to the table. While songs like ‘The Twitched Veil’ or ‘Cognitive Empathy’ move on in strange ways until suddenly proceeding into pulverising and dissonant heaviness, ‘Into A Mirrored Hall’ presents more straightforward songwriting with bulldoze riffs, distorted vocals and precise drumming that brings to mind reminiscences of Cult Leader, Yautja and Full of Hell.
‘Molten Husk’ is another concerted progression from Abest’s early material. Again recorded by Jan Oberg (Downfall Of Gaia, Deathrite) and featuring contributions by Denise (Tuliips), Lars (Sun Worship, Ultha), and Yannick (Farson), the record is leaving nearly no room to breathe. A crushingly oppressive experience that is expanding the band’s sound into new and extreme spheres.
Our music is an outlet and a process to deal with the everyday grind. It, therefore, is very heavy and, to some, even unbearable. It’s challenging to play and straining to keep up with. We’re demanding a lot from our listeners. But if there is anything found in the style of music we play, it shouldn’t be considered harmful or destructive, but something to find consolation in and not to feel alone with your feelings.
‘Molten Husk’ was written over a year during the covid pandemic and is a joint effort of the three of us working under ever-changing regulations. At some points, we weren’t able to rehearse and couldn’t pursue our planned date of recording the album, which was daunting and held us back and thus resulted in having to postpone the session. These obstacles only brought us closer together through being very cautious with regulations and trying not to meet too many people; we sometimes were the only people we saw in person. After the lockdown was lifted incrementally – albeit with rising numbers and questionable political strategies we could record what was to become our third LP.
When writing the lyrics for our first songs in 2011, I thought I was only copying passages from a book I was reading then. After returning to them a few years later, I realised that they perfectly reflected what I was going through at the respective times. We then ditched the whole ‘concept-writing’. Psychological topics run throughout our lyrics and paint a picture that resembles what’s going on in our lives. They’re ‘therapeutic essays’ and have always been very personal.
I deal with a condition called ‘derealisation’ that leaves you dissociative, making you feel like you are under a glass dome spanning only about 1m around your head. It also goes hand in hand with recurring depressive episodes that vary in intensity. Having to deal with this condition since my teenage years, I’ve now spent around 16 years with it 24/7, non-stop. The origin has to be a melange of some traumatic experiences occurring around that time, including moving a lot, domestic and physical abuse, witnessing drug abuse and its consequences within my family, and eventually abusing drugs as a young teen. This, and being told by teachers and other guardians that I’ll never accomplish anything with my ideas and plans, eventually led me to thrive in these areas ultimately (making music, being an independent graphic designer) and loving it. The latter is a very positive development – the dark passages in my past are still a huge thing to deal with – and being reminded of a supposed permanent condition gives fertile ground for the style of lyrics and music we play.
I have to credit my older brother, Janis (who used to play bass briefly in AB•EST), for introducing me to Punk-Rock at the sweet age of 6 (he is around six years older than me). After listening, it was only a matter of time until I started to play the guitar myself and conjure up some weird shit. Although nothing came of it until I was about 12 years old when I joined a friend’s skatepunk band, which later turned into a death metal/metalcore band. So I guess things got heavier rather quickly, and I succumbed to everything dark or heavy, and I am stuck in that rabbit hole for good at age 32. Thinking about Records that were important, I’d have to say At the Gates ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ had quite an impact on me. Also, early Killswitch Engage set something in motion around that time.
I grew up in a village and was exposed to the internet in the early 2000s, so discovering music was my main activity. My MP3-Player was my most trustworthy companion. I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite album, and having named the latter, I realise I use music as a vehicle – a time capsule of emotions and memories, if you will, which I hold very dearly and consider a potent tool to have with you at all times.