Malakhim – Theion

Band: Malakhim
Title: Theion
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Release date: 08 January 2020
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Promo

Malakhim are referred to as black metal, but there is more to their sound, more influences to be heard.  It’s a death metal feel, and yet, a blending and blackening of the two readily recognizable genres.  After finding the lyrics to their tracks in this album,  it paints a strong satanic theme, uncompromised personal view on how the world is to Malakhim.  They started this up in 2016, releasing, “Demo 1” in 2017, “II” an EP in 2019, and in 2020 a live album, “Hic Rugitus Cavernarum Terribilis”, with “Theion” being the first full-length album.  

Five members make up this band, being “E”, vocals, “AK”, guitars, “VT”, drums, “TK” (Tommy Konu), bass, (of Hellmasker, ex-member of Daemonicus, Deathbound, and Sanity of Impiety, to name some) and “AN”, yes that is Andreas Nilsson (of Naglfar, Occasum, ex-member of Midvinter, Ancient Wisdom and Ancient, to name some) also guitars.  Together these men combine and bring their many influences from their previous work, to create and give a different flavor of black, death, and some melodic metal, that you will need to listen to, to find out. 

The first track, “There is a Beacon”, firstly, a sinister tone to the guitar riffs in the start, helping to bring atmosphere.  Vocals are cold, merciless and the growl is deep.  Very good vocal to match this track, guitars are powerful and bring unrelenting energies.  Drums pick up the backbeat to this and also have a strong presence.  Lyrics are very well written, an example of this is “There is a beacon before which man is but a vessel of clay to be filled by the raging adversarial fire that burns the essence of God away..” 

The second track, “Merciless Angel of Pestilence”, the riffs are the black metal energy, with vocals that feed them.  Drums are being beaten on, bringing that dark heartbeat alive.  The mid-point of the song and ending are a repeat, repetitive chant almost.  One example of lyrics:  “crooked fingers beckon towards damnation, decaying lips that part for a final kiss..” 

The third is “Slither O Serpent”, which brings in melodic guitar as intro, beautiful tone, to a growled vocal that fades off.   The dark tone, slower riffs on top of frenzied black metal riffs give this track more to sink into. Have to say, this track is the real snapshot of the genres being blended, those of black, death, and yes, melodic.  The vocal is deep and easily heard in your heartbeat.  The lyrics are bloodthirsty imaginings of serpent imagery:  “Whisper, O Serpent, whisper once more, into my heart, sow your wisdom once more..” 

The fourth track, “Chalice of Ruin”, has more of the death metal feel I noted, the guttural vocal is there, building more.  Then, guitar riffs change, the chugging riff sound is more pronounced, and the vocal is more melodic.  A look at some of the lyrics:  “A thousand mouths that yawn and clasp, a thousand eyes that see without sight..” Wow. incredibly alive imagery in these words.  

The fifth track, “His Voiceless Whisper”, brings that cold edged black metal vocal, guitar riffs that don’t stop, and drums again, filling and feeding the track.  Those drums in this, speed and precision, giving more to this track.  Vocals envelop the drums, almost in a way, a back and forth between them.  Guitars are the backbeat in this track, vocals and drums are the standouts.  Such imagery in these lyrics, again I am wowed: “And within the fetid soil of the world, the Tree of Death has set its roots, drinking deep the blood of life..” 

The sixth track, ” Hammer of Satan”, this to me is a power chant, if you will.  Drum and guitar riffing blasting and without pause.  Lyrics are a chant to my ears:  “I am the hammer of Satan, the iron fist of your utter damnation, I am the spear of negation, poised to strike at the heart of creation..” 

The seventh track, “The Splendour of Stillborn Stars”, brutal, but done in such a way that there are pauses, and back peddling.  Melodies are created in the guitar variations,  which I really appreciate in this.  The last notes of the track are back to the brutal clasp and feel from the beginning.  Lyrics are beautiful: “As we erase our names from the book of life, do you hear the calling from the valley of death, so let us bare our flesh at the altars of sin, and embrace the burning madness within…” 

The final track is “Theion”, an atmospheric feel, a slow build.  Those vocals growl, more than scream, and it’s a great contrast.  Deeper, heavier guitar riffing to the more rapid tempo, going back and forth.  As a final track, this one is staying and resonating.  Some echoey notes at the finale. Lyrics are envisioning the end of days: “Hear! The trumpet sounds, it calls for the end of you and I, behold as the flames of perdition, licks the cradle of all civilization..”

Upon hearing the first two tracks, I wasn’t sure if this would be a repetitive album, with not much to work with or against in creativity, but soon as I heard track three, I was yes! there it is, that variation and interest that holds up.  I hear blackened death, black and melodic death notes in this album, that stand up and deliver.  Those lyrics on this album, I really appreciated, and was wowed by the imagery. I  give 7/10 Metal Marie

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7/10 Victory is possible
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