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Malus Votum – Tradition

Malus Votum
by Rory Kuczek at 29 August 2020, 6:05 PM

Hailing from New Hampshire in the United States, comes the black metal project, MALUS VOTUM. The band formed in 2010 and has this year put out their first album entitled, “Tradition.” The album is rooted in traditional black metal notes and concepts, styling their guitars, drums, and voice patterns off of the pioneer bands with similar ideas. Though not wrong in doing so, the band’s originality was difficult to decipher. Instead, there were moments of their personalized voices, but these were eventually lost to the entropic blend of instrumental sounds. Nevertheless, the musicians are quite talented and their abilities are not doubted. Since this is their first album, their voice is bound to come at a later time.

The Feast On The Mountain” begins in a chaotic emblem of design. The drums beat a pattern so dignified that all else is misunderstood. The guitars resolve into static and rumbles as their lines are quite loud. Synths are lined with these guitars, yet a man’s screaming voice is the strongest tool of their crispness. The nature breakdowns to simple echoed guitars, and instrumental layers are added within. Though the style is adequate for the scenery it produces, it does not seem an original fashion. The tempo is off beat with various elements, and malforms into a pot of inconsequential themes. It fails to pinpoint the creative ideas that are hidden within. A chorus-like sound is introduced and the pitch changes to a darker attitude.

In “Prince Of The Culling Tide,” a man sings wordlessly, and an eerie piano strikes notes that are reminiscent of a toy piano. Synths follow along, and a violin-like instrument sways. The guitars abruptly come forth and build up in pace and intensity. A man’s voice screams into the night, and the drums lose its viciousness for a second. There is no evident or distinguished melody, rather a blend of curiously painted rhythms. As the entropic environment parades on, the voice weaves in and out as a means of control. Towards the end of the song, the song breaks, and groaning synths and cymbals are heard. It is unsettling but soothing. A riff ends the track, and this piece is their strongest off the album.

Tremolo guitars move like static and the man’s voice is reintroduced as a similar fashion. Similar to the previous tracks, “Ritual Of Cessation Of Forms” is a blur of notes and noises that do not fit together evenly. Synths are added within and next to the bass as a means to improve the speech of the sound. Again, there is no evident structure or symbolism, and it seems but a quick breeze of intriguing concepts. It was a struggle to see the beauty in this piece.

In “Wolf Age,” guitars cue and notes move fluidly around the tremolo picking. Synths are hidden within, and guitars beat fast. Almost in DRUDKH style this piece begins, though loses pace as the drums switch tempos and the voice screams its way through. Almost like a wolf’s howl, an echoed and celestial voice dominates for a moment and stretches a bit throughout the song. The song breaks down quite a few times throughout the track, allowing for fresh stretches of air and newness in audio. This track is not the most interesting sounding piece, but this distinguished parts of their style.

MALUS VOTUM’s “Tradition” is set in a tone of chaotic composition with unsettling rhetoric. At times, the pieces were quite pleasurable, though it was quite difficult to comprehend to why the project did not strive to create and rather mimicked styles of previous works. Nevertheless, despite their poorer production quality, the musicians were certain of their style and were confident in their pieces, for being their first album. It is with my own confidence to say that they will find their voice when it calls to them in their following creations.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. The Feast On The Mountain
2. Prince Of The Culling Tide
3. Ritual Of Cessation Of Forms
4. Wolf Age
Grond Nefarious – Drums, Bass and Vocals
Goatlord – Guitars and Vocals
Record Label: Lunar Apparitions


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Edited 09 February 2023

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