Malthusian - Below the Hengiform
Invictus Productions
Death/black metal
3 songs (24:18)
Release year: 2015
Invictus Productions
Reviewed by Charles
Malthusian- that’s an interesting name. Malthus was a cleric-turned-political economist whose life traversed the 18th and 19th centuries, and who popularised the discredited-but-still-popular-among-twats idea that population growth would periodically lead to the exhaustion of resources, and thus reduce humanity once more to subsistence level. Of course it is now more obvious than ever that the world’s problems with poverty and hunger are not caused by a deficiency in the overall quantity of resources on the planet, but the deranged way in which plentiful resources are distributed by global capitalism, stuffing more and more down the throats of waddling first world gluttons who have more than they could ever possibly need, at the expense of basic food security in the countries where the ingredients came from.

Well, I digress. It’s a good name for an extreme metal band because it channels the kind of irrational despair and misanthropy that is the lifeblood of the creative milieu. Interesting band, too, comprising members of various leading lights of the Irish metal scene including Mourning Beloveth, Altar of Plagues, Wreck of the Hesperus and so forth. Their demo came out I think last year, and it was pretty good, though sadly I never managed to get the time to review it. Instinctively I’ve always, for some reason, associated them a little with rising stars Bolzer, partly because they share a label and were both putting out short (three track) Eps around the same time. But it’s not a completely bullshit comparison, because both specialise in a relatively freewheeling and creative approach to death metal, albeit one that is fairly uncompromising in terms of heaviness.

So, Below the Hengiform is an esoteric and evocative collection (great track names: Slouching Equinox, or The Gasless Billows, for example), featuring relatively long songs with restless, ever-shifting structures. The sound here bears some resemblance to the abrasive and abstract rumble that is quite de rigeur in death metal currently. The winding, slippery riffing, which sometimes coalesces into brief flashes of lumbering groove but is more inclined to dissipate into billows of lumpen oppressive murk, put me in mind of bands like Altars or Sonne Adam. But Malthusian are (as their wide-ranging lineup suggests), wanderers, who are at home drifting morosely through various extreme metal territories. At times, they adopt that pale, ghostly kind of black metal sound associated with the likes of Blut Aus Nord (The Work Which Transforms God era), and then they might suddenly degenerate into ramshackle and violent death metal channelling some brutal Central Europeans like Azarath or Lost Soul. The latter moments, in particular, are often given extra early-Carcass-style mayhem by the dual vocals. It’s all executed very confidently.

Perhaps this EP doesn’t present a completely distinctive new vision of death metal (it is getting harder to do that these days), but this is a band well worth following if you want to keep in touch with innovations in the style.

Killing Songs :
Below the Hengiform
Charles quoted no quote
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