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I like Xasthur. I thought that Defective Epitaph was really good, the same consistent Xasthur, dark, chilling, and completely fucking terrifying. Malefic should do a soundtrack to a horror movie. It would be awesome. But All Reflections Drained is…boring. It consists of 8 ambient tracks. While you still could have called Defective Epitaph black metal, All Reflections goes far past the point of being able to call it black metal. The biggest reason being, the vocals. Or lack there of. Malefic’s howl is almost completely gone. That was one of my favorite things about Xasthur. The dude’s screech was one of the scariest things I have ever heard and some of the most unique and bone chilling in all of metal. They only pop up for a few seconds in about only 3 of the songs. The rest of what little vocals there are, are just whispers and buried muttering, although the final track does have some pretty creepy singing thing going on backed by distant whispers.
Musically it just seems like a bunch of instrumental tracks like the few found on Defective Epitaph. It never really speeds past a crawl, which is difficult since All Reflections is almost 57 minutes long. If you thought other Xasthur albums were tough to get through in one sitting, oh man, you’ll have some trouble with this one. I think the best example is Masquerade Of Incisions. It is over 15 minutes long of really slow keyboards, the buzzing guitar and monotonous drums. 15 minutes!!! It might be the worst Xasthur song ever!! I think the best song is the last track, All Reflections Drained. Like I said before, there is some sort of “singing” happening that sounds downright terrible… It’s awesome! The track is really doom-ish and if I listen to it alone at night I am liable to poop myself.
The production is still terrible, no surprise. Xasthur has never really evolved it’s sound and at this point no one really expects that to happen, but at least it’s stayed consistent. But this… this is a real downgrade. I do not think that Malefic is going to stay headed in this direction. At least, I sincerely hope not. All Reflections just seems so lazy, and thrown together. Every single track is the same god damn pace and they all sound the same, even worse then before. The vocals are completely gone, but the music still sounds like Xasthur… Which, I guess, is a worse thing then I thought it would be. There are moments, albeit short moments where you feel like Malefic was on to something, if he had just picked up the pace a little instead of dragging it on or just add a little distorted howls these could have been some beautiful misanthropic songs. Instead it is just a boring ambient album, and even if that is the element you like best about Xasthur this is still not worth it… except maybe for the last track.