Review by Trevor Proctor.
May will see Sweden's exemplary label, Blood Harvest, bolster it's high standard release roster with two excellent releases from two of the underground's up-coming bands - Maleficence and Cadaveric Fumes.
Belgium’s Maleficence have been creating black thrash since their inception in 2011, bringing us the “First Spit” demo in 2012 which was followed by the promising “Journey to the Depths” cassette, independently released in July 2014 and followed by an official release via Blood Harvest in May 2015. I reviewed Journey to the Depths just before its release and felt it was a decent enough taster, sufficient to show both potential and that Maleficence is definitely a band to watch for in the future.
The good news is Maleficence has just returned with new music that Blood Harvest will release on 7” vinyl, entitled “Realms of Mortification” it will be available in a limited quantity of 200 on black vinyl and fifty of each on translucent red and purple vinyl.
"Realms of Mortification" features two new and exclusive tracks “Pyre of Penitence” and “Of Mortification and Beyond.” Journey to the Depths possessed a raw primordial power and thankfully this is still present throughout this new release. “Pyre of Penitence” features on side A and following a brief introduction the first thing noticeable is that whilst their raw black/thrash infrastructure is still present there’s an element of growth and refinement to be heard, along with a few other elements indicative of musical maturity and progression. For example, the recording/production of "Realms of Mortification" is more enhanced than previous, their song writing has improved and the solos are even quicker and more adept - just listen to side B’s “Of Mortification and Beyond” to see what I mean. When you combine these elements you have the formula for some seriously good black thrash and this is exactly what Maleficence has delivered. This release is most definitely worth a listen and also proves Maleficence is a band worthy of your support. The only down side with the EP is its duration which is only ten minutes – this doesn’t detract in any way from the music or what they have achieved between releases, it merely left me keen to hear more. Whether or not Maleficence can maintain this high standard of music across a full length remains to be seen but in the meantime we’ve some fantastic new music that satisfies. A strong black thrash release from a band showing further potential.
8 out of 10.
01 - Pyre of Penitence
02 - Of Mortification and Beyond.
French Death Metal group Cadaveric Fumes was formed in 2011 and released their debut demo, “Macabre Exaltation” in October the following year with a vinyl version coming from Blood Harvest in June 2013. Their only other release was in the form of the “Entwined in Sepulchral Darkness” 12” split which they shared with fellow French band Demonic Oath, released by Iron Bonehead Productions in conjunction with Impious Desecration Records during November 2014. "Entwined in Sepulchral Darkness" featured two straight forward death metal tracks from Cadaveric Fumes which, in a similar fashion to Maleficence, showed both promise and potential.
Cadaveric Fumes has once again teamed up with Blood Harvest to release the Dimensions Obscure 12” MLP. Dimensions Obscure features four tracks across twenty five minutes and is limited to 300 copies – 200 on black vinyl and a limited version of 100 copies on translucent blue vinyl which includes an embroidered patch and poster.
Opener “Crepuscular Journey” starts with a keyboard/piano intro which makes way for some slow guitar work before gradually progressing into some extremely catchy hooks. Not what I’d expected to hear but there’s a lot different from this recording when compared to those previous. The production levels are slightly improved and musically they’ve taken leaps and bounds since their last release “Entwined in Sepulchral Darkness,” there’s a significant degree of musical experimentation and progression to be heard – I’m all on for that, it’s good to see bands experiment. Their music is dirty and hook laden with rock-like, screaming solos plentiful throughout, giving it an edge of groove and swagger at times with third track, “Where Darkness Reigns Supreme” being a fine example - this is death metal going in an interesting direction.
On more than one occasion the tempo, sound and experimentation reminded me slightly of the changes we heard to Tribulation’s sound between “The Horror” and “The Formulas of Death.” I mean this as a compliment as I loved "The Formulas of Death" and by no means are Cadaveric Fumes trying to sound like Tribulation, they've simply changed and expanded their sound in a similar fashion and are themselves also experimenting. I genuinely feel Cadaveric Fumes have managed to broaden and mature their sound whilst maintaining enough elements from previous to satisfy existing fans – not an easy task when you consider that, in some people’s eyes, you can tinker too much with a winning formula. There’s still a death metal vocal and plenty of death metal elements at the beating heart of this release but there’s so much more to their sound now. Dimensions Obscure is a tasty indicator of Cadaveric Fumes’ progression and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
Solid death metal with some intriguing experimentation and progression.
8 out of 10.
01 - Crepuscular Journey
02 - Extatic Extirpation
03 - Where Darkness Reigns Pristine
04 - Swallowed Into Eternity.