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Malleus - The Fires of Heaven Award winner

The Fires of Heaven
by David Hough at 15 February 2023, 1:34 PM

The Boston, Massachusetts band, MALLEUS, has recently released their first full-length album on Armageddon Label. Their Bandcamp page describes the album as follows: “Expanding on and refining their influences from the seminal first wave era of Death and Black Metal, they have delivered unto us 8 savage bursts of classic Blackened Metal. Combining brooding atmosphere, razor-sharp riffs, fiercely delivered drumming, and raw, throat-ripping vocals, all summoned and sent forth from the gloomiest crypts and corners of olde New England. Like a distant tolling bell emanating from the manic depths of humanity's past, the lyrics contemplate and belie the failings of mankind, and evoke a sense of the darkness that may yet lay ahead…”

The Fires Of Heaven” starts with a slow introductory track, “The Tempest,” consisting of slowly played string instruments. The track was written and performed by Kris Force and Jackie Perez Gratz. It does an okay job of setting the tone for the album. I think the album would have had more impact if they had decided to forego this track and start with the first proper track, “A Dark Sun Rises.” The album’s sound is heavily influenced by early Thrash Metal as well as the aforementioned first wave of Black and Death Metal. “The Fires Of Heaven” is a prime example of Black/Speed Metal. The first standout track is “Prophetess.” The intro reminds me of MOTÖRHEAD, while the rest of the song is more in the same vein as GOATWHORE and WRAITH.

The title track follows “Prophetess” and complements the song well. This one is well-constructed, with its bouncy rhythms and epic riffing. “The Fires Of Heaven” is my favorite track on the album. It has the same vibe as the SKELETONWITCH album, “Devouring Radiant Light.” The song, “Awakening,” is a slow burn. It starts dull and disparate and continues to build up to a rewarding crescendo at the very end. There is lots of screaming and the vocals are unintelligible. At times, I wonder if the excellent riffing and welcome structure at the finale is worth the wait.

The final track, “Mourning War,” is an excellent way to cap off an enjoyable album. The clean guitar build-up to the infectious hook is well-written. The rhythm section does an outstanding job of laying down a complementary backbeat for the remaining instruments and vocals to shine. The guitars are thrashy and the vocals are fierce. Throw in an airy lead guitar solo, and the song is complete. With “The Fires Of Heaven,” MALLEUS have released an album with more hits than misses for sure. The only track that I don’t care for is “Awakening,” but that is because it sounds so radically different from the others, making for a jarring experience. I’m also torn about the effectiveness of “The Tempest.” There are still six excellent black/speed metal tracks, and this album is worth your time for sure.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Tempest
2. A Dark Sun Rises
3. Beyond the Pale
4. Prophetess
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Into the Flesh
7. Awakening
8. Mourning War
The Relentless - Drums
The Hammer - Guitars
The Channeler - Vocals
The Watcher - Bass
Record Label: Armageddon Label


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