Title: In the Catacombs of Time
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Release Date: 25 January 2019
Format Reviewed: FLAC
One-man band, the Russian MALIST brought us their debut album “In the Catacombs of Time” in the end of January. New to the scene, MALIST’s mastermind Ovfrost decided to dig deep into the shadows of the past and present and open the door for all the ghosts living in these catacombs of time, and created this conceptual Karst realm album.
Since the very first tune, Ovfrost solidly hit a nerve with the conquering melodic and very atmospheric black metal and all melodic riffs he has performed. The music is cold, as the mentioned Karst realm, where in search of a purpose when walking the path of this meaningless existence, the lyrical hero should fight demons and tyranny, wandering towards the end of this path with the only hope being that the suffering will end.
The production reminded me of the early Dimmu Borgir albums, mid Taake records, some At The Gates and actually a lot of Hoth’s 2018 effort. The tracks are going well with their melodic and memorable arrangements, despite being built on a similar structure in general. This doesn’t make the album a one hit wonder or easily swallowed and then spat out. Vice versa. The secrets cannot be revealed all at once. “In the Catacombs of Time” is well dosed, so that some details need to be recognized over time. This album proves it just with its small and simple details, elegantly served, which need to be heard. Ovfrost puts it himself: “It’s a 10 track record, mostly mid-tempo, that relies heavily on melodic rhythm-guitars, tremolo picking and atmospheric breakdowns, employing vocals that shift between standard black metal shrieks, quiet inhales, and sometimes low growls and cleans as well.”
Those ten tracks live and breathe the cold atmosphere and the melancholy of the shadows for 50 minutes. Besides the tremolos, melodic riffs and breakdowns, and lots of rotten-chords (which I do love), I should mention here the soft but solid bass line, which is clearly heard all over.
After the intro track “Venture Into Life”, comes the blast “Agony (To No Avail)”, which actually won me over since the very first listen and made me dig into MALIST. It is followed by well “fractured” into atmospheric and blast parts “Spiritual Oppression” and the predominant in mid-tempo “Forlorn and Cold” with its enjoyable rotten-chords midway through. “Uniformity” basically continues the same structure, starting with a rapid tempo and turning down and twisting into dark Karst corridors. In “Food for the Flames” I found hidden epicness at its heart, and it brings some nice melodic riffs, more typical for HM even. The seven-minute “Bitter Längtan” is more painful, begins slowly and then unwinds and breaks into many various parts – mostly atmospheric, underlined by a predominant lonely guitar. With a heavy bass beginning, “Hymn for the Karst Realm” carries the torturous experiences of the Ovfrost’s lyrical hero. The slow-mid tempo double-bassed “Violated by Nothingness” is the last song before the instrumental “Ever After”. “Violated by Nothingness” is again not the typical black metal track, being more into slow At The Gates pattern and carrying again few breakdowns.
“In the Catacombs of Time” is an impactful, diverse album for those who seek quality atmospheric black metal and beyond; those who like the melodic black/death metal will rejoice for sure. It is not the typical frantic race or imagery posing. This debut carries own Karst atmosphere and deserves high praise. I liked it, and “In the Catacombs of Time” has already found place in my list with top releases from January. 8/10 Count Vlad
Is there a hope for this world according MALIST’s mastermind Ofvrost? Well, just read my interview with him.
8/10 To greatness and glory
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