Saturday, December 22, 2012

Malleus Maleficarum

Malleus Maleficarum - Taedium Vitae
Oaken Shield, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Bleeding Runes
3. L'Hymne au Corbeau
4. Aesma Daeva
5. Lord of War
6. Ancient Blood
7. Desekrating Graves
8. Omen of the Moon
9. Outro

This is the follow up to the demo “Zarach’Baal’Tharagh”, granted it took two years, but it was well worth the wait.  I have not heard the first demo “Heic Noenum Pax” since it appears to be incredibly difficult to locate.  However, after hearing “Zarach’Baal’Tharagh,” I don’t know how good it can be.  It seems Malleus Maleficarum really started to pull their sound together with “Taedium Vitae.”  This album is much faster and much more intense than “Zarach’Baal’Tharagh” could ever hope to compete with in my opinion.  To be honest I found “Zarach’Baal’Tharagh” rather boring to listen to overall.  However, “Taedium Vitae,” being a much stronger album, is by no means anything overwhelmingly new in the realms of Black Metal.  I believe Malleus Maleficarum still has a decent amount of maturing to do as a band.  Their first demo came out in 1999 so they still have some time to generate their own unique aspect into a scene that is vastly becoming over saturated.  It seems, though, that in the twenty first century the French Black Metal scene has taken up arms to hold the scene and bolster a good amount of its growth.  I say this because it just feels that the scene is becoming somewhat stagnant in other countries, while places like Norway and so on are still producing high quality Black Metal albums, I don’t see too many overwhelming different approaches to the musical style.

“Taedium Vitae” albeit a great album, it is a general Black Metal release.  It’s fast, it’s brutal and it’s intense.  I have noticed in recent years with the newly formed Black Metal bands, is that they go through stages of mimicking the Old Norwegian scene and then usually finally branching off into their own domain.  I feel Blut Aus Nord is a classic case of this phenomenon.  They started off closely related to the Norwegian scene and then matured over the years and completely revolutionized their sound into something almost completely different from Black Metal, but still something that is like Black Metal.  Mütiilation is another prime example, though technically he started at around the same time the Norwegian scene started exploding.  Be that as it may, he was merely up to date with his Black Metal offerings of the time, but over the years Mütiilation grew into something wholly different and there really aren’t many Black Metal bands that inherently sound like that.  Malleus Maleficarum is hopefully no different from this evolutionary scale.  It is more like mastering the techniques set forth by the purveyors of the scene, then taking those skills and creating something entirely new with them.  It seems to be more of a learning process, rather than downright mimicking.  Granted in a lot of cases I’m sure copy-cat procedures are the goal, but for most bands I’ve noticed the trend of sounding similar to the older bands and then branching off into their own sound.  For example vocal wise I hear influence from Burzum era Black Metal in Malleus Maleficarum’s work.  I think that Malleus Maleficarum uses a better vocal approach, but then again I’m personally not a die hard Burzum fan.  Though, I think Burzum has offered a great deal to the Black Metal scene and will always remain a legend musically.

Please don’t let my theoretical/evolutionary musings sway you from picking up this album.  I highly recommend it; I enjoy Malleus Maleficarum quite a bit.  Even though they are not playing anything entirely new, I think they did a superb job on putting this album together and, dare I say, this honestly has more replay value for me than some other bands I listen to.  Malleus Maleficarum are on the right track and should absolutely be watched in the future.  The Black Metal found on “Taedium Vitae” is somewhat raw, but their production is good enough where you hear every instrument, but it just has the raw essence behind it.  Which, honestly, is the magical part of raw Black Metal and Malleus Maleficarum have managed to harness the essence with decent production backing it up.  So, overall this is a well produced album and if you are looking for something new to listen to or a band to watch in the future try out “Taedium Vitae.”  You may find a band to follow in the future.

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