Umeå-based Moloken draw inspiration from their local musical heritage, but bring a progressive/modern metal twist to those hardcore roots. Like a funkier, less lumbering version of their fellow Umeåns Cult of Luna, this quartet have developed a sound that is atmospheric, doomy, grooving, hypnotic, even mellow at times. This multifacetedness, in conjunction with effective use of soft/loud dynamics and minimal repetitiveness, makes Moloken's well-recorded first release engaging throughout most of its duration. Described as taking the listener on a "journey through the human psyche," this three-part epic starts with an excerpt from Franklin D. Roosevelt's "dagger . . . in the back" speech set over a low, pulsating tone. FDR's biting utterance of the word neighbor segues beautifully into some crunchy guitars as "Lost Saviour" begins. Later, a similarly adroit (and virtually imperceptible) transition leads into "Dual Core Friction." Together, the first two movements form a bass-driven soundscape of diversity and continuity, flow and unrest. Although an organic entity in itself, the suitably deranged "Paranoia," comes across as being tacked on, its loose stylistic and tonal connection to the preceding parts made all the more tenuous by an abrupt inception and by the fact that "Dual Core Friction" ends with such a strong feeling of resolution.
Besides possibly being structured as two separate tracks, We All Face the Dark Alone would benefit from greater variety in the vocals. Even with two screamers - the Bäckström brothers, guitarist Kristoffer (The Pookie Syndrome member and Discouraged Records founder, who started Moloken as a one-man project) and bassist Nicklas (of the late lamented Lithany) - the one-dimensional, hardcore ranting is a limiting factor in the band's sound. I would also like to see them take further advantage of drummer Jakob Burstedt's (also from Lithany) polyrhythmic prowess. Although "doomcore" is one of Moloken's self-designations, there's no reason they can't adopt a higher level of technicality than that term might imply.