Artist: Molten Gold
Album: Futures Past
Label: Kozmik Artifactz
Release Date: January 20th, 2023
Location: Oslo, Norway
Norwegian classic prog rock act Molten Gold show that rock is nowhere near being done as a genre, it’s just shifted into the underground, where away from cataract clouded eyes of Rolling Stone Magazine it’s found fertile ground to grow and flourish. The fruit that this growth bears is on full display with the band’s self-titled debut.
Molten Gold isn’t just an album, it’s a time machine that transports the listener straight back to the 70s in sound, style and essence. The band manage to make music that not only pays respects to legends passed but manages to do so in a way that feels fresh and exciting. It keeps traditions alive but gives them new life through the band’s own unique twist on the music and their signature flourishes.
I need to be clear that while inspiration is drawn from numerous legendary acts this is not a worship album. The music you will hear on Molten Gold is something all its own yet still feels familiar and comforting. The band cite their influences as being Deep Purple,Captain Beyond and Uriah Heep, all of which I can definitely hear, but there’s so much going on here than just elements of these three acts. For instance, I see clear influences of Kansas on display, along with Wishbone Ash, Atomic Rooster and more.
What the listener has to look forward to is highly varied and excellently written guitar work, thick proggy bass work, captivating synthesized keyboards, high energy drums and powerful yet comforting vocals. Each element is performed to perfection and is balanced out expertly in the mix, allowing it to breath and each is given their own moments throughout the album to shine.
Sound-wise the album is primarily prog rock, however the band work in elements of blues rock, classic rock and funk that makes the album that much more diverse. These transitions are primarily led by the stellar guitar work on the album, which delivers more memorable riffs than you can shake a stick at. True to form that band give the guitar plenty of room to breathe as it leads vast intervals without any vocal interruption. Backed fully by the keys and bass it takes the listener on a journey that you never want to end. That isn’t to say that the band wrote the album with a guitar focus, as there are plenty of fantastic segments where it bows out of the spotlight to give either the keyboards or the bass time to take center stage, a decision that I am personally very grateful for.
The vocals on the album are exactly what any fan of 70s era prog would hope for, having a soaring epic quality to them at times but a more serious, bluesy touch at others. They carry just enough emotion to them to convey what is needed on the more moving tracks but possess bard-like qualities overall, allowing the band to convey complex narratives through their music.
Overall, this is a prime example of modern classic prog rock and gives me hope for the genre as a whole. In recent years there has been somewhat of a revival movement in the genre and Molten Gold are just one more example of just why this is so important.