Album: Across Deaths
Label: Dark Descent Records (US)/Invictus Productions (Everywhere else)
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: September 7th, 2018
This review is gonna be a little different. It took me on an unexpected journey, so I invite you to join me.
As I listen to the first track, “Remnant Fauna”, I am drawn to an entrance of an unknown cave. The song begins and immediately pulls me in without warning. The unrelenting speed and brutality create a sense of pandemonium as I am pulled farther from the light. The tempo never slows, except for a slight moment towards the second half of the song, but that just adds to the crushing heaviness. The light from the entrance of the cave disappears and I am plunged into darkness as I journey “Across The Expanse of Nothing”.
The fear starts to set in as the cavernous drums drive this next track. The guitars create a flurry of chaos with just a few simple notes and the contrast of low and mid screams swirl around it all. “Across The Expanse of Nothing” manages to make me feel hollow despite the unending rampage. The nearly eight minute affair never lets off the gas pedal, continuing to suck me into this cave of darkness. As the song seemingly falls apart, it is abruptly brought back together with “Sublunar Hex”.
This song continues in the vain as the prior two, making me realize that this cave is far deeper than I had thought. Before I get too comfortable, the song slows and hidden terrors begin to emerge. Inhuman screams and dissonant guitars add to the unsettling atmosphere. The journey is far from over and more horrors await.
Things finally start to slow down with “Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch”, but it is out of trepidation for what is to come. As the song progresses and I with it, despair finally sets in as I slowly realized I’ve entered some sort of hell. The song begins to break down, tortured screams echo all around, horribly dissonant strings play a melody at the edge of anxiety, all to the hypnotic and ever-present drums. This part of the journey has left me terrified, yet empty. I have no choice but to move forward.
I’ve finally arrived in this unknown hell. Once again, I’m swept up by a torrent of chaotic guitars and drumming, but this seems controlled and purposeful; almost as if to establish that I will never know peace again, that I am subject to whatever lurks here. As a final statement, I abruptly lose conscious and fade to black.
I decided to approach this review a little differently because I truly felt like I was on some hellish journey. The musicianship is incredible and Malthusian have crafted some terrifying music. The use of death metal growls and black metal screams created a unique contrast; the screams felt like the victims of a tormented soul while the growls were evil causing the suffering as found in the end of “Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch” and towards the beginning of “Telluric Tongues (Roaring Into The Earth)”.
The drumming on this record is outstanding. The drummer is incredibly precise and clear. Everything is articulated really well and cuts through the reverberant mix. In “Across The Expanse of Nothing”, the blast beats are spot on and anchor the rest of the band amidst the bedlam.
This isn’t ordinary death metal. Malthusian have expertly fused elements of black and doom metal to make them stand out from everyone else. Whether it is the down-trodden slowness found in “Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch” or the howling screams that permeate the record, the band has shown that they are capable of using multiple tools to achieve their musical vision. It’s a hellish landscape that they’ve painted, but it is quite enjoyable.
1. Remnant Fauna
2. Across The Expanse of Nothing
3. Sublunar Hex
4. Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch
5. Telluric Tongues (Roaring Into The Earth)
Total Play Time: 40:34