Belarusian trio Molchat Doma play a bleak, drum machine-driven blend of post-punk, cold wave, dark synth pop, and ’80s Russian rock influences, with reverb-drenched lyrics about loneliness, oppression, and life in a post-communist state. The group became one of the more surprising viral success stories of the late 2010s and early 2020s, particularly when a song from their 2018 full-length Etazhi became a social media phenomenon.
Consisting of vocalist Egor Shkutko and instrumentalists Roman Komogortsev (guitar, synthesizer, drum machine) and Pavel Kozlov (bass guitar, synthesizer), Molchat Doma, whose name is Russian for “houses are silent,” formed in Minsk, Belarus, in 2017. The band’s influences include Perestroika-era Russian groups such as Kino, as well as post-punk and synth pop staples like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, and the Human League. Molchat Doma‘s debut, S Krysh Nashikh Domov (“From the Roofs of Our Houses”), was self-issued in 2017, and soon picked up by German label Detriti Records. A year later, the band released their slightly more polished second album, Etazhi (“Floors”). Both albums achieved popularity online, particularly within the apocalyptic subculture known as doomers, and by the end of 2019, the group were playing sold-out concerts across Europe, but still weren’t as appreciated in their home country. The band collaborated with Russian post-punk group Ploho on a 2019 single translating to “At the Edge of the Island.”
In January of 2020, Molchat Doma signed with American label Sacred Bones. Their first two albums were reissued, and the group contributed a cover of “Heaven and Hell” to the label’s Black Sabbath tribute compilation What Is This That Stands Before Me? The band exploded in popularity during the year, as Etazhi album track “Sudno” (“Vessel”), based on lyrics by Russian poet Boris Ryzhy, became a hit on social media, partially through its frequent use as part of a TikTok challenge involving the video creator trying on as many items of clothing from their wardrobe as possible within a time limit. Molchat Doma were scheduled to make their North American touring debut in 2020, but were forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they remained in Minsk and worked on their third full-length, Monument, which arrived in November.