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Senmuth - Mal'akatu - 30%

ConorFynes, January 28th, 2011

Coming back yet again in 2010 when another metal-leaning ambient album, Senmuth's 'Mal'akatu' is already born to harsh conditions. With at least eighty albums by this Russian artist having come before, the album faces a big risk of sounding very tired and recycled right off the bat, regardless of quality. As it turns out, 'Mal'akatu' is a generally inoffensive album that while listenable, lacks virtually any sort of memorable melodic hook or impact on the listener.

LIke I said, perhaps this is simply due to the fact that I am unable to appreciate the weaker albums of Senmuth now that I've listened to so many of them, but 'Mal'akatu' simply feels hollow, barring one of two graces. One of these positive notes is the presence of vocals, although not vocals as we might be used to them with Senmuth. This album certainly deserves to be called instrumental, but there are near-operatic female vocal flourishes that can be distantly heard in the background, which give the impression of mythical sirens; very cool. Unfortunately, these can only be heard towards the last three tracks, and only in sparse quantities. For the very most part, 'Mal'akatu' is a snore.

The songwriting and execution is something that's been heard many times before, some sort of tribal percussive beat mixed overtop some seemingly improvised melodies. All of the music here is also programmed through a synthesizer, meaning anyone looking for an authentic world music experience will be surely disappointed. While the album serves as being background music fairly well, the fact remains that Senmuth has made so many albums by this point that serve the same purpose, but do a much better job of it.

A very disappointing release, and while I still can't bring myself to say it's without merit entirely, there is little here that has a chance in hell- or Xibalba, or Ragnarok- of ever dazzling the senses.