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Hadal Maw - Olm

Hadal Maw
by Lauren Fonto at 01 April 2017, 11:32 AM

HADAL MAW have returned three years after 2014 debut album “Senium” with sophomore effort “Olm”. The band’s name refers to the Hadal zone, which denotes the world’s deepest ocean trenches. The term “Hadal zone” comes from Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. Opener “Leviathan” is a piece with layers of ambience, mechanical-like drumming and harmonies which don’t quite follow neat patterns. This all sets the scene for the darker themes explored on the rest of the album. Throughout the album, the band feeds the listener catchy grooves which sit comfortably beside unpredictable yet accessible song structures. The band uses dissonant and thick guitar riffs, thundering drums with a few quieter interludes to create their twisting rollercoaster of an album. Sam Dillon is the new guy in the band, and he puts in a passionate, raw performance, such as on the tracks “Affluenza” and “Simian Plague”.

On this album, hints of GOJIRA and MESHUGGAH (among other influences) pop up, but these influences don’t overshadow the band’s own sound. There are the rolling riffs and ringing notes similar to the latter, and the “djent-like” riffs similar to the latter. “Failed Harvest” has some big, multi-layered riffs from the djent side, as does “False King”. While the multiple layers present in the album as a whole could’ve maybe done with a slightly less compressed mix, there’s something to be said for the argument that this particular mix adds to the bleak atmosphere of the album. While there are some hard-hitting tracks on this album, others didn’t have the same potency. But nonetheless, the band does well in avoiding sounding like mere derivatives of their influences, and I thought that the guys are onto something good with the sound they’ve taken on. The occasional forays into progressive metal and even jazzy territory are interesting without being distracting tangents – things are kept compact throughout the album, which maintains momentum.

HADAL MAW is on an upward trajectory, in my opinion, and I look forward to hearing what they do next. While a little fine-tuning could make things even greater, this is still a worthwhile album, and the band should be proud of this milestone in their career.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Leviathan
2. Affluenza
3. Failed Harvest
4. Witch Doctor
5. False King
6. The Olm
7. Simian Plague
8. Germinate
9. Hyena
10. Circus of Flesh
Nick Rackham – Guitars
Rob Brens – Drums
Jim Luxford – Bass
Ben Boyle – Guitars
Sam Dillon – Vocals 
Record Label: EVP Recordings


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