Malnatt - La Voce Dei Morti
CCP Records
Black Metal
9 songs (45:55)
Release year: 2008
Malnatt Official Website, CCP Records
Reviewed by Charles
I approached this album with some caution; a small amount of research seemed initially to indicate that Malnatt are something of a “comedy” black metal band. The extremely goofy metal archives photograph, the obviously satirical tone of interviews (“Malnàtt is a Mystical Music Order which takes inspiration from the Order of the Templar Knights and works to create a New Worldwide Order”) and the fact that they claim that their fanclub is a “disguise” for an elite revolutionary “Outer Circle” called Malnatt Jugend, led me to expect a fist-eatingly unfunny spoof act that might be fleetingly amusing when accompanied by a video of corpse-painted fat people running around in a forest.

Well, I was entirely wrong about that, because this is actually a reasonably original and highly competent black metal effort. It is the band’s fourth record, although I had never even heard their name mentioned prior to this one, La Voce Dei Morti. They play a rather accessible form of melodic black metal, which reminds me somewhat of Windir; not just in terms of their music which is similarly folky but with an unusually Mediterranean feel, but also in their ability to sound simultaneously authentic but and easily approachable to novices. For the most part, it’s relatively simplistic, based around mid-tempo, almost catchily melodic tremolo riffs, with a guitar tone that is far warmer and cuddlier than devotees of this type of music will be used to.

The strengths of La Voce Dei Morti lie in its ability to generate a reasonable amount of depth, variety and character. There is the occasional bizarre adventure into strange new musical worlds. In the second half of Fantasmi, a folky acoustic breakdown leads into a romantic latin-sounding trumpet refrain (?!) and a mournful female vocal line, that really manage to blend surprisingly well into the middle of a black metal track. The same trumpets reappear, again to good effect, in Piangi Tu Che Hai. Less bizarrely, E Como Potevani Noi Cantare is reminiscent of early Opeth recordings, although it is far more concise, with insistent and tuneful riffs moving the album away from normal black metal territory. It remains a decisively black metal work, however. For the most part, variety comes from Malnatt’s ability to vary moods and tempos whilst remaining within the parameters of this musical form. In particular, they have a real flair for lumbering slower passages with a strong melodic sensibility, as on Sono Una Creatura.

This is a surprisingly good recording, and maybe even one of my own top five black metal releases of 2008. It is certainly recommended for more relaxed admirers of black metal. For those devoted to the more extreme ends of the spectrum, however, it may be far too lightweight.

Killing Songs :
Fantasmi, Piangi Tu Che Hai, Sono Una Creatura
Charles quoted 78 / 100
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