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  FLAGELLANT
'Maledictum'
(World Terror Committee Productions)


jools green

Jools Green



flagellant

'Maledictum' is the second full length from Swedish Black Metal trio 'Flagellant' and follow up to 2010's debut 'Monuments'. They are also another of those bands that like to surround themselves in an air of dark mystery by being known only by an initial, J on drums, S on Guitars and E on Bass..

Opening track, 'From The Abyss They Shine' begins with a haunting, atmosphere building sound- scape for the first minute before switching to the distorted abrasive guitars and harsh vocals that will make up the core of the album. The classic Black Metal plodding beat to the construct gets your head nodding immediately.

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Maintaining classic Black Metal rhythms but upping the tempo, the album continues with 'Towers Of Silence', a varied and interesting track with several direction and tempo changes. 'Necromantic Revelations' has hypnotic distorted repeat rhythms overlaid with harsh blackened vocals.

There is a very epic and urgent feel to the chugging repeat riffs and crashing cymbals in the opening of 'Domini Canes'. As the pace picks up midway the sense of urgency increases creating a powerful and engulfing track.

'A Rebirth Of Sterility' begins with a slower, bleak, haunting repeat riff for the first minute before developing into a more intense spiralling repeat riff pattern. Again the harsh relentless vocals are overlaid to powerful effect.

On 'Horned Shadows Rise', bleak, ominous, distorted riffs rise and fall beneath excellent, intense, harsh and sometimes even hateful and scathing vocals. Tempo and direction changes make this one the best of the seven minute plus, marathon length tracks.

A brief soundscape opener on 'Rousing The Serpent' before breaking into a catchy riff that keeps re-emerging throughout the track. The good use of tempo change throughout keeps you interested, making this my my favourite track on the album. It is also not too long, some of the seven minute tracks could have got away with being a minute or so shorter.

When the final track, 'Thirteen Cauldrons Boil 'began I didn't think I was going to like it. Initially it sounded disjointed and a little discordant but as the pace picked up and it opened out to become the fastest track on the album with even the vocals reaching breakneck speed, it suddenly made sense. A fast paced and exciting finale to the album. The final minute closes on a rather scary spoken outro. Marvellous!

I felt throughout the album there was a bit of an early Burzum influence to the guitars while the vocals anchored their style to its Swedish roots, something I liked a lot. The album is quite a challenging listen but I believe Black Metal should be just that.

Musically it isn't ground breaking, just straightforward Black Metal, but it is good, very good in fact and when you can produce an album of this quality why bother to try and get too technical or clever. It is just an excellent amalgamation of straightforward abrasive, melodic guitars and harsh, resonating vocals presented in a traditional style, so what more could you ask? Personally, I really enjoyed 'Maledictum'.

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31.3.13














 


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