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The Horror Never Lets Go - 94%

devletli, October 28th, 2016

Portuguese black metal is obviously a thing, as shown by this duo.

Now, we have a new aesthetic in black metal (I refrain from using the term post-black). The old riff & tremolo structure, where you could hear every single pick is largely gone in favour of a reverb-laden continuous buzz/ring layer, in parts with chords with little to no distortion. While individually inaudible, this creates amazing atmosphere and melody when successfully composed and executed. This unorthodox guitar style, dare I say perfected by the French giants, is increasingly adopted by newer black metal acts, including this one.

The cover strikes first. I feel I saw it before. Wormlust – The Feral Wisdom? Same stylised twirls and dark imagination? Turns out I am right, the French artist Valnoir painted both, and a shitload more, including Antaeus, Behemoth, Blut aus Nord, Morbid Angel, Peste Noire, Taake, Ulver… The visual aesthetic has also undergone transformation, the blurry black and white dark forest under a full moon theme gave way to this artistic, symmetrical illustrations of horror.

From the first moments, “Malícia” pulls you in. In a stormy sea of chaos, confusion, madness and a constant stream of beats. The drums are so in-your-face loud and never let go, except the slower sections of madness. Uncredited, and obviously programmed blast beats and double drumming does not, however, feel industrial. The guitars and bass create the main layer and are played by the main man Daniel C. Besides building the soundscape and melody, we have some striking riffs of equal imagination as the atmosphere created. Especially the closing of the second track "I" gives you the heebeegeebeez. I am so glad I got to use that word. Oh by the way, the now mandatory roman numerical song titles are completely disordered.

And the crown jewel of Malícia, the singing (?). It seems this is the singer’s (Marcos M.) first time handling the microphone, which is such a shame. His vocal range is beyond impressive, nailing death and black vocals and double-tracks but he completely kills it with his wailing-in-anguish-black-metal-operatic insane-ness. Imagine the tortured screams of a horror movie killer. But this is the worst kind of horror movie killers. This one haunts you at your dreams and you never get to see his face. And when finally he confronts you, screaming like a madman that he is, cuts himself because he likes to torture you emotionally. And you hear the wailings. Well you get the picture.

Malícia, the band’s debut full-length, delivers what they set out to do. Seven tracks of madness in the new aesthetics of black metal. Black metal is glorious.

winterwhenyoufreeze

A roller coaster of chaos - 78%

Wykydtron84, October 31st, 2015

There is one thing I am always looking for when I listen to black metal or death metal band. That’s whether or not the bands are actually conveying the imagery they set out to do. It doesn’t matter whether the drums are constantly blasting away or whether the vocals are guttural and demonic sounding. What matters in the end is whether the music is able to be dark and destructive, while still being believable and original.

With “Malícia”, Tod Huetet Uebel has been able to successfully capture the dark imagery we look for in extreme metal. Depending how you approach the album, you may see it for its similarities to other bands in the genre or you may see it for its unique qualities. Off the bat, an aesthetic quality is all the song titles are roman numerals. This a common trait/trend we’ve seen with many band such as Taake and Mgla. Though Tod Huetet Uebel, being the odd characters they are, have switched up the order. For example the first tracks are titled (in order) ‘XIII’, ‘I’ and ‘XII’ instead of I, II and III.

At times, you are hearing the same technical/prog oriented black metal a lot of bands seemed to be leaning towards these days. Some of the songs are a little exhausting to get through and there is so many twists and turns in the song you wonder if you are even listening to the same song. With that said, those are the only negatives about “Malícia”.

The first thing that helped this release before even listening to it was the album art. When I listen to an album, no matter what the track is, I’m always referring back to the artwork. The artwork sets the initial tone for the album. Too many album covers suffer these days from simplistic black and grey toned album art that is trying to come off as serious and dreary but comes off as boring and plain. “Malícia” on the other hand is psychedelic nightmare and gives great imagery to what Tod Huetet Uebel is capturing musically.

The entire album is a roller coaster of chaos. Things can change up quick, but they are done in a manner which keeps the song going and never takes you completely out the moment. During ‘I’ we get traces of Cobalt with the cleaner guitar tone. But for the most part the album is a no holds barred barrage of pounding black metal.

The vocals are absolutely haunting. There is a wide range of extreme vocal varieties occurring on the album, but the most sinister are the high contorted wails which can be heard prominent in songs like ‘XII’. If you do listen to this album, when you get to this song in particular, close your eyes. Close your eyes and imagine those wailing noses are coming towards you from a distance. It’s absolutely unnerving. Though you might also think they are just plain silly.

In conclusion, get it. It’s a great full length debut from the Portuguese duo and I’m sure we’ll hear more from this great band sooner than later.

Aggressive Post-Black - 90%

flightoficarus86, March 12th, 2015

To call Tod Huetet Uebel black metal would be misleading. Hailing from Lisban, Portugal, this duo plays a particularly aggressive brand of post-black. While the almost constant, hammering blastbeats and shrieks are familiar to the former genre, the inclusion of death metal vocals and post-metal guitar work stop it short of riding alongside acts like Mayhem or Darkthrone. That having been said, don't expect to hear Drudkh or Ghost Bath either. These guys are animals.

For the most part, Malicia is a no holds barred marathon. The drums absolutely shine in their relentless calisthenics. I am someone who is not fond of the endless blastbeat, but Tod Huetet Uebel manage to berate you with them just long enough before switching to an equally enthralling double bass, new cymbal pattern, or machine-gun tom fill.

When paired with the absolutely hellish vocals and ringing, wall-of-sound guitars; Malicia has an absolutely suffocating atmosphere. I mined my varied musical tastes to most aptly describe these vocals, but the best comparison I could come up with was the intro track to Slipknot's Iowa. Voices will drag out and overlap in howls, croaks, and hoarse screams that can be quite chilling. Guitars favor rapidly strummed, depressive minor key chords along with the occasional picked hook not unlike a more post-metal version of Immortal's At the Heart of Winter.

Yet for all of its intensity, Malicia is not something I really bang my head to. The onslaught paradoxically permeates a strange, soothing quality. It reminds me of the comfort I find in listening to a particularly heavy thunderstorm through the bedroom window. There are also a few breaks in the action that further showcase the album's more calming attributes. The opening guitar line and other moments like on “I” feature some cleaner, traditional post metal leads, while “XII” features an interlude that brought strong comparisons to Tool's “Schism.”

Final verdict: instant buy. I was already eying the price tag on this one after the first track. Luckily for everyone, the added bonus was that this is a pay-what-you-want on bandcamp. Who could say no to that? Between the malice-filled vocals and the ineffable drumming, Malica lept into the top 10 albums I have heard from this year so far (and that number is pretty high already). Check it out today and support yet another solid up-and-comer.