I happened upon Malmö, Sweden’s Maligner purely by accident and I became an instant fan. Their take on death/thrash is spot on. Imagine the riffs of old school thrash a la Dark Angel, Kreator, and Coroner, and the technicality of mid period Death; even the vocals remind me of Chuck throughout their debut full length, Attraction to Annihilation. I instantly became a fan of this album and even though it’s just seconds longer than a half hour, it’s how they use that little time to create an incredible debut. I truly hope they are able to reach a larger audience because this album smokes from beginning to end.
The first thing that struck me with this band is the riffs…and there’s plenty of them. Old school thrash riffs interspersed with early death metal riffs. The opener, “Oath-bound,” is the perfect song to set the mood. Starting off with some backward masked vocals, the riffs just kick right in. The time changes and riff changes are executed flawlessly but ferociously. The riffs just continue to pummel you when the solos kicks in over some killer tremolos. The vocalist, Emanuel Bylund (aka Maligno), really does try to channel Chuck Schuldiner in this album and this song in particular. You could even hear some early John Tardy in the vocals. It’s these riff heavy thrash songs mixed with those early death metal vocals that really make this band stand out.
“Disposable” is another stand out track. It begins with the sound of a battle in the rain with some clean guitars and a killer solo faintly playing then…you are picking your teeth up off the floor. The riffing here is mostly death metal riffing but these guys don’t seem happy unless they mix it up a bit. Another blazing solo as would be expected on a song like this. It just crushes from beginning to end. “Reign of Fear is another scorcher. It starts out with a cool traditional metal sounding intro, solos and all, then the riffs just crush you. They approach these songs with just the perfect balance of ferocity and melody. Chilean born Patricio Vergara (aka Aztiak) handles all guitar duty here so being responsible for executing the riffs and time changes as well as shred an amazing solo takes some serious talent.
Maligner are not bringing anything new to the table. What they are doing are taking tried and true recipes and creating killer metal. This album has actually become one of my favorite albums of the year and is in regular rotation. Bottom line, this album slays and you need to own it!