Title: Karst Relict
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Release date: 12 March 2021
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
MALIST’s debut “In the Catacombs of Time” was launched in 2019 and since then Ovfrost keeps pushing and releasing an album each year after. So here we are, at the brink of MALIST’s brand new, third album – “Karst Relilct”. I can tell that so far the underground fans really accepted very well everything that MALIST delivered – a modern melodic black metal with a feel and atmosphere.
What immediately made me impression when I listened to the new album was the production. I can confirm that “Karst Relict” is the best MALIST album in terms of production. It is a big leap forward especially after a bit muddy “To Mantle The Rising Sun” (2020) album. The sound now is clear, the guitars are crisp, the tremolos can be heard and felt, especially having additional atmospheric parts behind. Furthermore, I can really feel that the melodic epicness of the genre has given way to the colder and a bit more hateful nuances. On top, Ovfrost now offers a brand new whole atmosphere, adding clean guitars, “cleaner” keyboards, and much more diversity in the overall compositions, rather than leaving them in the pure straight-forward melodic black metal side. Add to this the fantastic artwork. Yes, this album might turn into a whole different experience, especially for the devoted lovers of this subgenre.
“Karst Relict” continues and concludes the trilogy of the Karst Realm and the journey of the main hero “through its vast nether halls and mountain hollows. Slave to the will of the Tyrant King, the hero slowly comes to his senses as he attempts to uncover the truth to all the inhabitants of the kingdom, that there is a whole world outside the cave they have been living in; that the ruler of this realm is the source of their never-ending misery and grief.” This description of the main idea really gives answers to why musically “Karst Relict” builds up different moods and graduates them, describing the emotions and the feelings of the main protagonist.
The third part of the story of the nameless hero in the Karst realm starts with the cold opener “Remaining Light” and MALIST immediately, very directly, throws us into the experience. Then “Satellite” is more like a labyrinth, leading us through the realm and showing the twisting way of the protagonist, adding a tiny dissonance in the middle. Then we reach to the absolute anthemic black metal “hit” “Timeless Torch”. It is probably MALIST’s best ever song, and my personal favorite from “Karst Relict”. Why? – just listen to the track. I really loved that post-punk/NWBHM vibe in the chorus, incorporated in between the melodic black metal.
“A way through Limbo” and “Lifeless Ease of Nonbeing” calm the tempo with some very good strings work and even balladic atmosphere. But the inner pressure is there and Ovfrost just leads us through the chapters of the story. “Chthonic Trinity” is probably my second favorite track off the album because of the relentless main tempo and the galloping riffs, then all the changes in the tempo and overall black metal atmosphere.
“The King punishes his former servant with death, unwittingly summoning a violent cataclysm…” Probably this is why I felt more melancholy, more pain, more internal struggle and pressure (and hate hidden in the heart) in MALIST’s new album, ending with the “Between the Worlds”. It’s a track of opposite nuances – dark, piling that preassure, expecting the sun, that has to come after the storm. …even though some might not be able to see it.
With “Karst Relict” Ovfrost definitely went into the next level. It is MALIST’s best album to date, most diverse, with best production and atmosphere. Maybe I would say it is most personal too in a way that the music describes thoroughly one’s experience through the difficult rocky path of the dark “Karst Realm”. Melodic, modern, intriguing, standing out in a highly competitive genre, the album deserves high praise and many listens. 8.5/10 Count Vlad
8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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