Holy Molar will ruin hardcore for you. This is a good thing. Let it burn. Let some weird new phoenix rise from the ashes. After the deluge of Molar, most hardcore ends up sounding basic as fuck. It sounds cookiecutter. Generic. Samey. Two guitars, bass, a singer, and drums? Come on, where’s the adventure, the risk, the opportunity for innovation? With Molar you rarely know what to expect and that is a beautiful thing. Weird samples of horses’ hooves clopping away from you like some old-timey radio show? Oscar Wilde quotes and riffs cribbed from the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack? Synth like some fucked-up, deranged cartoon ape eating your hands? Sure, sure, sure. Why not. Let it rip.
Molar’s double-CD set, the Whole Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth, came out 18 years ago today via Three One G and it rocked my young world and made me rethink all I thought I knew about the limits of hardcore. Conclusion: there are none. Addendum to conclusion: most hardcore bands are about as original, open to evolution, and free-thinking as a Republican senator or a paint-by-numbers set. No thrill. All weekend warrior shit. Nice try, no cigar (or anything else as reward. You suck. Go back to bed).
A Molar record is like being a tiny bird riding a wild rush of twitchy wind that changes direction and speed without warning and brings with it the smells of lands untold. The songs are thick and heavy but nimble, Mark McCoy’s vocals are a yipping wolf pup with bat wings above Gabe Serbian’s shredding, catchy, stop-and-start D&D Fire Denom guitar, Justin’s menacing Chinese Noise Dragon bass, Maximillian Avila’s proggy Giant Crossdimensional Nightmare Squid drums, and Bobby Bray’s keyboards which are a pure blast of DMT-smoking Gray Aliens joyriding the multiuniverse while giving you the peace sign AND the middle finger. A Molar song doesn’t stick to any sort of standard song structure, instead taking you to more places than a dream–changing course, stopping suddenly, devolving into noise, all the while doing so in beautifully-rendered form. Nothing drowns anything out. The vocals are crisp. The bass tones are gloriously monolithic. No hate on lo-fi art of course but this is so well-produced it sounds like the best Led Zeppelin records or pre-suck era Metallica.
Molar is the band I recommend to people I know who 1) like hardcore and 2) are new to Three One G’s catalog. Most end up loving it. Some don’t get it, but there’s no accounting for taste. If you don’t want your perceptions radically challenged, that’s on you. Me, I’m all for the chance to have my mind blasted out entirely every now and again and there are few better ways than with a Holy Molar record.
–Adam Gnade, author of the books Locust House and Float Me Away, Floodwaters