You have to love the Scandinavians. Just when you think that they have covered every angle of extreme metal, they keep on crawling out of the woodwork with something different or make you open your cupboards and bare those bullet belts and leather jacket again.
As much as my passion is death metal, sometimes you can listen to it too much and it can sound stagnant. Occasionally I find myself looking for something different and testing different waters and this is how I stumbled across Malakhim from Sweden when the list of material was made available over here at Moshville Times. What I have stumbled across here is probably one of the best demos I have heard this year from a band in their infancy which is a remarkable feat. There are plenty others that share this opinion as I shall be reviewing a reissue of said demo through Iron Bonehead Productions as the initial press sold out on its first day. This band are going to go places and if the quality of musicianship on this three song demo is anything to go by, they may be giving the originators of the scene a run for their money.
“A Thousand Burning Worlds” starts things off in black metal territory with sharp and crisp riffs from guitarists AK and AN. Vocalist E has the perfect voice for this form of music and has a plethora of vocal styles with black, death and clean singing in his repertoire. The sound of the overall demo is excellent in capturing the orthodox black metal that the band plays with the drums from VT and the bassist TK being heard. Malakhim may certainly have elements of Dissection and Watain in their music but they have more than enough unique identity to forge their own path and I must admit, I have had this song on repeat numerous times as it’s that good. It’s at 2.30 to the end of the song that this track really does it for me as it’s an astounding riff backed by haunting vocals once again. This track is an excellent way to start of this demo.
“The Mass of Flesh” is next and it’s more of the same speed with some death inspired riffs thrown in for good measure before heading back to black metal territory. If I was to compare the vocals of E it would have to be a mix of Jon of Dissection and Erik of Watain. This song overall is much faster with relentless blasts in places from VT. However, I feel the track is again at its strongest when it adds an extra layer of atmosphere, in particular with the guitars and vocals at the chorus. There is an extremely high level of musicianship on show here from all band members from a band in its infancy and this is certainly proving to be a very strong demo recording.
“The Golden Shrines” has that early Dissection/Watain feel but the song has its own identity which has become the Malakhim sound. After the initial blast beats and frenetic riffs, the song slows down into an excellent mid section where E mixes up his vocal style once again. It’s the last couple of minutes of this demo that makes this song huge; due to the death-ier style of riffs being played it adds that atmosphere again. This is a very fine way to end this demo which finds myself pressing the repeat button as it’s simply that good.
This must be the best demo I have heard this year, if not for a couple of years. Malakhim have an aura of mystery about them as no one knows who the band members are. Even if this is their first recording as a band, I don’t think that this is their first stab at black metal as this demo has supreme musicianship written all over it. The riffs from AK and AN are mesmerising and combined with the rhythm section and vocals, Malakhim have a dark and prosperous future ahead of them. Remember the name. Malakhim.
Favourite track: “A Thousand Burning Worlds” (on repeat)