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Track-by-Track: Molder Dig into Their Gruesome Album ‘Engrossed In Decay’

Aaren Pantke, the vocalist/guitarist with Illinois-based scumbags Molder, delivers a track-by-track dive into the dastardly death metal that is ‘Engrossed In Decay’ (Prosthetic Records).



For this writer, there is nothing better than getting your hands on an album that is just pure, unadulterated filth. Over the last eighteen months, there have been plenty of death metal splatter-platters thrown my way, each one more disgusting than the last. The latest effort to land on my desk came in the form of Engrossed In Decay (Prosthetic Records) by Illinois-based scumbags Molder.

Recorded, by their own admission, under the influence of LSD and showing off their undying love for death metal legends Autopsy, this foul romp through love tales of the undead, melting flesh and nights in the local cemetery is the perfect soundtrack for those of you weened on a diet of gruesome old-school horror movies and disgusting death metal. We sat down with vocalist/guitarist Aaren Pantke to dig further into Engrossed In Decay.

1. “Glutinous Remains”

Aaren Pantke (guitar/vocals): “Let’s get this started! We chose this as the album opener simply because it was the first song we wrote after releasing Vanished Cadavers. At the time, we didn’t know it would be the opener on our next record; it was just “another new song,” but we certainly stand behind making it the take-off tune on Engrossed In Decay. It certainly encapsulates all the Molder parameters- it grooves, thrashes, dooms, etc. It’s almost, in a sense, our sequel to ‘Granulated Chunks’ – just another love song about gelatinous gunk. Opening with a gurgling disturbance curated by none other than Cheyenne Brandt, that opens the portal to pure insanity.”

2. “Engrossed In Decay”

“This was a fun one to write and record. It’s packed with thrashing riffs, pounding drums, and some of my favorite howls I’ve ever laid down on a track. In particular love this tune due to the nasty-as-hell bass opening; that tone just oozes from the speakers! This one is for the true sick freaks out there! To those SO fascinated and intrigued by the beauty of decay, it literally consumes them. We chose this one as the title track and the first single drop because it’s just absolutely sick- truly mad stuff that shows death metal doesn’t always have to be slow/cavernous.”

3. “Relentless Pestilence”

“Onto the “video track.” This was the second song we wrote for the record. This one being the first KNOWING it was for a new album. It opens up with a secret sample (can you guess where it’s from?) and a nod to Nocturnal’s Arrival of the Carnivore – vaulting into a blackened thrash frenzy accompanied by tremolo riffing and blasting drums. Then breaks into neck-wrecking d-beats, and some weirdo groove stuff. It’s also one of two songs on the record with an actual guitar solo. We chose this tune as the video song because it’s truly just a fun ripper of a song to play, in our opinion highlighting our less is more approach to writing/playing hooky death metal.”

4. “Chemically Dissolved”

“Ah yes, another song about melting!! This track starts off with a crawling duel-guitar, Autopsy worship riff/intro and kicks into gear with a misplaced stomper. This was another fun one to record; the song is just all over the place, off the rails yet right on track. It swings, it grinds, it’s a rager. The vocals were especially a pain in the ass to record as it’s just so many lines right after another, but they really came out disgusting.”

Artwork for ‘Engrossed in Decay’ by Molder

5. “Disinhumed Carcass Revived”

“This one was a bit different for us. It was the first time we really tried something new. But I think we did a solid job of keeping the Molder sound, just making it fresh. This song is up there for us as far as favorites on the record go. Who doesn’t love a song with samples and roto toms?? Lyrically this song is a result of our love for movies about the undead – in particular, Reanimator. In the words of Mike Muir, “I don’t care if they’ve already died… that’s not enough to make me satisfied,” And that’s exactly what this song is about, bringing the dead back to life just to kill them again!”

6. “Huff the Stench”

“This was meant to be our TRUE “Autopsy Worship” track, but it kinda took on a life of its own! This one starts off with a building tom intro that turns into a dreadful swinging headbanger. What’s that? You guessed it, another putrid bass break from Dominic! Picking up the pace into a face-stomping d-beat section. Lyrically this song was probably the most fun to write. It’s just ridiculous! After a bender out on the town and there’s no alcohol or drugs left, what’s left to do? You guessed it, crack open a cold one in the local Cemetery and let the buzz consume you. Some like huffing duster/paint; we enjoy huffing corpse vapors.”

7. “Unsubstantial Hallucinations”

“As some of you may know by now, this entire record was recorded under the influence of lysergic diethylamide acid (LSD). Appropriately named because we definitely tripped the hardest writing this one… and you can fuckin’ HEAR it! That said, this song is about losing your marbles under the influence of hallucinogens, because that’s exactly what we did. A lot of weird twists and turns on this one, truly a fun song to jam out.”

8. “Ghastly Mutation”

“Here’s a fun one about shape shifting… well, kind of! More Autopsy worship, this time writing about the cover art of Mental Funeral. Always imagined that thing is the result of listening to literally ANY Autopsy record alone at night. It’s also our ode to movies like The Thing; there’s nothing more rad than humans morphing into a horrendous and abhorrent mess! This is one of the first songs we tested out live, and the response was huge. So if you were there, maybe you remember it! If not, relive it again, or for the first time!”

9. “Decomposed Embryos”

“This is our mid-paced ripper. If you like primitive-sounding shit, this tune is for you. This song is about dissecting fetuses from the Womb. More specifically about local Midwestern abortionist Dr. Klopfer. This freak collected/harvested the fetus of EVERY abortion they performed for decades. Those trophies were recovered shortly after his death in his trunk and mass grave inside the barn of his home. We are pro-choice, and in the case of Dr. Koplfer, it just so happened that it resulted in the content to write new lyrics! Nothing sicker than medical malpractice…”

10. “Cask of Maggots”

“Closing the album is a little ditty about a barrel of worms. So fill your chalice and raise them high as we bring this album to a close. This was the final song we wrote for the record and also the longest, so we felt it was appropriate to make it the closing track. This is song two of two to feature guitar solos, and once more brings back the roto toms for an additional time to shine. Wrapping everything up wonderfully with sonic purulence the record initially opened up with.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.