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Idiosyncratic, highly original dark BM sound art - 87%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 12th, 2014

This is one of two recordings the Metal Noir Quebecois band Malvery made before its original vocalist committed suicide so a very small but quite significant legacy was left behind. What these guys lacked in quantity of music they made up for with regard to mood and atmosphere, intensity of feeling and commitment to their craft.

"Promo '98" is a misnomer and I don't quite know if the title is an overstatement or an understatement. To be honest, Malvery hardly need to "promote" their music on the strength of this offering; it promotes itself by the sheer force of expression, the sinister nature of the music and the expressionistic style of performance. Bookended by two very dramatic and rather over-heavy ambient synth tone pieces, the music quickly reaches the heights of histrionic operatic performance starting with "Delectation Morose", this particular song being a lesson in how music follows the vocalist's mood and becomes a completely organic creation that itself engenders an uneasy and terrifying ambience that magnifies the singer's state of mind.

More horror and dread follow in the long piece "Noye dans un Lac Deesseche" which almost constitutes a small soundtrack to a mini horror film: it comes complete with synth and piano feigning intense shock while the percussion and tremolo guitars continuously stoke up fear and the vocalist convulses in fits of hysteria and madness. The music's structure is very loose and is at the complete service of the singer's mood - as a result it appears to go where it will and has an undulating serpentine quality. The BM guitars simply lay down a shuddering fear-inducing drone texture over which percussion and voice perform their suspenseful duet.

The demo could have ended there and then but Malvery choose to follow with a live recording of "D'Illusion en Suicide" which is very under-powered thanks to a cheap production job. The song is fast compared to the previous tracks but the band's very idiosyncratic style of depressive BM expressionism is obvious from the way the vocals and drums race each other and dominate the song.

At times the music does seem a little too twee and kitschy but the guys' intense concentration and commitment outweigh the theatrics present in the music and which go with the territory of dark melodrama.

In just 25 minutes Malvery punches far above its weight in ambient depressive BM with experimental and unstructured elements that turn the band's songs into unique dark soundscape art. As MA readers can imagine, this particular take on BM is very unusual and highly original. I wish there was more of this kind of adventurous and maximalist music in BM and indeed other music genres.