Des Bibles, Des Hymnes, Des Icônes
(Oaken Shield / Adipocere Records)
This album caught me totally by surprise, because I knew nothing about this French Black Metal outfit, and I realize now I was on the verge to miss an essential record (their second full length). The music on offer here is absolutely (un)godly, hateful, dark, furious and superiorly composed and performed. I found some ABHORER vibes scattered here and there, and since this ancient bunch of Singaporean maniacs belongs to my list of absolute faves of all times, you understand how much I am pleased with this one! Guitarist / vocalist Tamas vent out his lyrics (all written in French) with a deafening desperate rage, the intensity levelled in this department attains heroic dimensions. Despite the comparison I made above, MALLEUS MALEFICARUM achieve the noticeable exploit to play a very personal form of Black Metal, in fact they mix the usual Scandinavian brand with the War Metal typical of the Australian scene, but that said only to give you a very approximate description. The titles made me immediately think of the decadent and almost mad French poets of the 19th century (especially Charles Baudelaire, Gérard de Nerval and Lautréamont), and consequently I doubt any traces of run of the mill Satanism could be found here (well, obviously the lyrics are difficult to hear distinctly and I don't have the lyric sheet), for the most of the refreshing effects I think. Music wise, the most pleasing aspect resides in the guitar sound, raw and absolutely scorching (the bass level is very low on the record), it deliciously reaps the ears to blood. I could praise this album again and again, always repeating the same things; it suffices to say that you must hear this without delay! Absolutely essential and brilliant! I would like to add that the awkward unusual cover art has a strong "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" feel, to add even more bleakness to an already great dark offering. Check out the band web site at: www.malleus-maleficarum.org.