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Utter Failure - 35%

WinterBliss, May 22nd, 2009

After hearing this I'm close thinking Malefic actually has no clue how to write music and relies on luck and a tabbing program. At one point, maybe a year or two ago, I would have considered myself a big Xasthur fan, but frustrated by the sheer amount of crap he put out I think I've lost much of my interest. To Violate the Oblivious stands out as the only Xasthur album as a whole I thoroughly enjoy, beyond that there are great songs floating around on various lps, eps, and splits. With Defective Epitaph we were given hope that since Malefic proved himself competent with the drums for what he had to play we would no longer suffer the inane drum machine he so poorly used, but alas that hope was quashed by an alright album and this current heap of crap.

Xasthur, notorious for creating dense, harrowing black metal with strong attention to atmosphere and ambiance has become a complete joke of itself. Gone are the nice melodies, or completely chilling/frightening atmosphere, or the painful wails, instead we are given endless dirges of mediocrity. Continuing with Defective Epitaph the production is completely horrid and muffled. It sounds like everything was recorded in a heavy plastic trash can, there is no power behind any instruments and no definition. Malefic relies heavily upon the keyboard with this release, his guitar playing has become a complete dismal affair as all he can do is clean pick boring and shitty riffs that all sound the same for roughly an hour.

The worst part is, what moments pass for "decent" sound like retakes of older recordings but simply done in a sloppier fashion. This album sounds like no effort was put into it and sounds far from genuine. The only thing, besides the declining quality, that has changed is the prominence of vocals. Always a strong point for Xasthur were Maelfic's tortured, piercing wails. Those said wails seem to be almost completely absent from this recording which just allows the crappy instrumentation to get the full spot light.

A smart move would be for Malefic to either reinvent himself, quit, or maybe redo some older albums with better production and real drums. The album is another misstep for Malefic, and another reason for this fan to stop caring. It's hard to defend Xasthur from all the hate it has incurred over these years, it's like standing up for your neo-nazi cousin; you're an asshole either way.