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Malichor - 90%

Zerberus, March 10th, 2013

One of my major beefs with black/thrash is that some bands tend to take the easy way and make it sound like terribly simplistic bedroom black metal with a few thrashy riffs and d-beats strewn around here and there. All in moderation, really, it's not like Desaster is the most technically-advanced band ever, and Deströyer 666 often follow the exact same patterns in songwriting, but the difference is that those two bands do it with moderation. Their music may not be the most varied of sorts and may not have crystal clear production, but they make it work and make up for any shortcomings in brilliant songwriting.

A band that has chosen to take the high road is Australia's black/thrash quintet, Malichor. The Lovecraft-themed band doesn't overdo anything. It's straight to the core black and thrash metal in equal amounts and it works astonishingly well for them. Their recipe for disaster consists of iconic, catchy riffs over a high tempo rhythm section made up of a thrashy and audible bass as well as drums presenting varying degrees of blasting. The vocals, too, are greatly varied, ranging from animalistically roaring growls to the more classic, rasping black metal vocals.

Though melody is seldom part of the equation in black/thrash metal, Malichor has found room for a rather melodic riff in the track Jackal's Spell. I was worried that it would break the malicious atmosphere that the band had already by the second track created on the EP, but I found that it added another element of mysticism to the music that fits Malichor's Lovecraftian style very well.

It's obvious that Malichor take a lot of influences from the '80s both in their stage names and their music, but to me "Lurkers in the Crypt" is so much more than blatant '80s worship. It's not so much that they're revolutionizing the genre, because let's face it, they aren't. But in later years it seems all bands are either tighter than a nun with crystal clear production or the directly opposite, making Hellhammer sound like the aforementioned. Malichor found a great median between the two.

Their half-sloppy playing provides the EP with some much appreciated dynamic, and I found the EP to be very well-written in general. Of the four tracks on the EP, there aren't really any tracks weaker than the others and all the tracks provide the release with its own element to make it a wholesome experience. "Jackal's Spell" provides the more melodic elements a swell as a pumping, headbanging piece even if melody is something seldom seen in relation to black/thrash, and the iconic "Demonic Power of Infinity" is probably the fastest of the four tracks as well as being the most unrelenting. It reminds me of some Norwegian black metal that, combined with their hints towards Deströyer 666's memorable choruses and Satanic solos, makes it a breathtaking experience.

The music in itself isn't very Lovecraftian and doesn't invoke visions of the great old ones or anything like that, but the cover reminds me of a certain short story by H.P. Lovecraft called "The Statement of Randolph Carter", in which the main character, Randolph Carter, describes how he and one of his associates visits an old graveyard and how his partner goes into a crypt only to suffer a horrible death to some unspeakable, unnameable horror. The whole ordeal is quite vividly described and as such, to me, goes very well hand in hand with this devilish EP.

All in all, Malichor show great potential on "Lurkers in the Crypt". Their sense for songwriting and ear for riffs is astonishing. Following in the wake of a new wave of Satanic speed metal, they measure up to some of the genres forefathers in terms of songwriting and I found Malichor to be just as vigorous, profane, and unrelenting as some of the genre's revered progenitors.

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