Australian Death Doom outfit Malignant Aura formed back in 2018 and successfully tested the water with a self-titled demo shortly after. They return with their debut album, the fifty-five-minute, Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me, described by the band as “six dirges of hideous tranquillity,” a pretty apt description for this magnificently unnerving hulk of Death Doom that creeps slowly upon you, smothering you with its bleak, shadowy and haunting grandeur.
Malignant Aura – Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me (Bitter Loss Records)
Release Date: 31 May 2022
Words: Jools Green
Opener Malignant Aura is an ominous yet atmospheric, blackened, smothering piece, delivered at a predominantly crawling pace but gaining speed and momentum briefly, midway through, the deep cavernous rasping vocals punctuating the dense atmosphere, along with bleak melodic swathes at the midpoint of the track.
In A Timeless Place Beneath The Earth has a superb opener, haunting and melancholic, turning hugely reflective when the pace picks up. At the arrival of those cavernous raw vocals, it surges in waves whilst still having that unstoppable juggernaut feel. They have cleverly worked in distinct changes of rhythm without losing any momentum to the viscous dark flow. The sound and the searing, frenzied second half leadwork complete the track magnificently.
There Is Blackness In The Water has another attention-grabbing opener. Initially, an array of drum rhythms are mirrored and bolstered by well-constructed riffs, then overlayed by those vocals. When the pace drops, it’s sudden, dramatic and powerful again, with superb ebb and flow and superbly atmospheric passages in the slower moments. It’s a twelve-minute beast that keeps on giving.
Title track, Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me, melds spoken elements and searing guitar work to make a dramatic start to a track that has a bleak, blackened and filthy feel. Again a superb ebb and build, magnificently powerful with dramatic and hugely effective bursts of drum rhythms which add an extra texture when they come to prominence and the repeating segments add an engagingly hypnotic quality.
A Soliloquy Beneath The Sepulchre is slow, bleak, superbly atmospheric and contemplative, with a funereal feel along with some more brutally crushing and oppressive passages, overall, hugely powerful.
The final piece…And So It Was That I Lay Down Forever “is an exploration of the stories we all inhabit when we’re afflicted by pain,” the band says. “Once our protagonist becomes sufficiently entangled in his own woeful tale, he finds that separating himself from it carries harrowing existential challenges.”
It has an enticing repeat to the opener, slightly faster in pace at times than the predecessors but still descends into that wonderfully bleak doom scape that dominates this album, with spoken elements alongside the cavernous vocals, definitely a punchy number.
The cover art for Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me is by the renowned Metal artist Paolo Girardi, whose artwork has also graced the covers of well over one hundred bands, including Inquisition, Stellar Master Elite and Drug Honkey.
It was recorded by Brendan Auld at Black Blood Audio and mastered by Arthur Rizkm. Overall, a superbly bleak and haunting offering, that is available from: