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Malice Maelstrom - 83%

Skarnek, June 7th, 2013

This one doesn't seem like it should be, yet it's a tricky one for me. The fury and darkness is undeniable, and not at all overbearing to the overall maturity of it's presentation, both sonically and visually. The wrought-iron-like logo, the spooky, spectral artwork, the thrashy-yet-blackened melodies and tempos...they all scream of shadowy metal fit for headbanging 'till the listener's brains rattle. Yet the subtle atmospherics, executed through carefully placed whispers (amidst the black/death screams and demonic growls) and reverbed lead guitar melodies and solos, simply have something special going on.

This is a cohesive and speedy mass of equally chuggy and swirling blackened death. The riffs bring to mind a near neo-classical compositional quality, as if it were written to accompany one through a viscous battle with the spirit. The stark, vivid attack of riffs found on tracks like "The Anarchist" (0:35) bring visions of winged predators swooping and clawing like a swarm of pure-evil. It's this kind of effortless visualization that sets it apart.

Comparisons could be made from Forest Of Impaled and Mork Gryning to Eucharist. There's nothing here to leave a fan of these styles feeling cheated. In fact, while mildly derivative; their songwriting is as unique as a band that employs these methods can get. There's an air of distinction that is impressive enough to have you reaching for this one more than less.

If dark, furious, and classy metal with an abundance of non-saccharine melody is something that sounds appealing to you, then seek this one out. A journey into a frantic world of evil awaits you with open arms.