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Malfeitor - "Incubus" (CD)

Malfeitor - "Incubus" CD cover image

"Incubus" track listing:

1. Down with Me (4:53)
2. Into the Qliphot of Golachab (6:01)
3. Mysterious,Mystical, Majestic (5:32)
4. Promethean Fire (5:34)
5. Typhonian Gods (7:36)
6. Dark Saturnian Chaos (5:50)
7. The Other Half (5:29)
8. Void of Voids (5:11)
9. Incubus (4:39)
10. Antisaturno (Thùnapsù) (5:08)

Reviewed by on May 5, 2010

"While there are numerous brief expeditions outside the genre norms, the bulk of the 'Incubus' journey consists of stops at all the standard black metal attractions."

“Incubus,” the second full-length disc from Malfeitor, is yet another addition to the unhallowed halls of furious and anti-religious black metal. Although the band comes from that boot shaped nation with all the great pasta instead of the frigid wastes of Norway, it still has everything that makes acts like Immortal and Gorgoroth such fan favorites after all the years. While there are numerous brief expeditions outside the genre norms, the bulk of the “Incubus” journey consists of stops at all the standard black metal attractions.

Malfeitor, which features vocalist Malfeitor Fabban of Aborym, actually has a lot in common with the two previously mentioned black metal legends. The base of the music is rooted in the cold and unrelenting style of acts such as Immortal but it also takes some cues from Gorgoroth. Much like both of those bands they also use non-traditional elements to prevent the music from become as stale as the tombs they are screeching about. For good measure there is even a little bit of the theatrics that would be heard from a band like Ancient, but it's reined in before it can even approach the overblown sleaze that act is famous for.

There is a lot of standard blast beating and other traditional black metal elements, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the real attraction comes from all the various breaks from the formula. “Into the Qliphot of Golachab” has a little slower feel than the rest of the album, almost reaching mid-paced melodic death metal or even doom at parts. The background guitar work on “Mysterious, Mystical, Majestic” has a heaping dose of unexpected melody, which gives the song a solid shot about being memorable.

“Promethean Fire” also features a sudden change of pace that keeps the song relatively fresh. The middle segment of the track uses an almost progressive guitar riff that brings to mind something that would be heard from Ihsahn, albeit a bit more thrash-tastic and energetic. The song drops the drum assault and instead uses primarily cymbal work, which makes it stand out from the rest. “Typhonian Gods” sticks to the formula pretty closely, but it uses voiceover in an uncharacteristically engaging way. The song has creepy sounding guitars as a backing chorus to a distressed and anguished supplicant begging his deity to forgive him for some unknown trespass. It’s a gimmick, but it gets across the blasphemous and evil feel of black metal without being cheesy, which also makes it an unexpected triumph.

For all its successes, “Incubus” does have its share of failures as well. The songs are significantly longer than those made by other bands in the same style. While another act would put out a full-length album that only hits 30 or 40 minutes and call it good, Malfeitor instead decided to go for the full hour. The extra length gives a lot more opportunity for unfortunate repetition, like on the track “Dark Saturnian Chaos.” The final song also is inexplicably five minutes of ambient noise, which is completely skip worthy. It doesn’t really add anything to the album, and the pulsating and grating sounds get annoying.

Malfeitor’s second full-length album easily does the black metal style as well as most of the bigger names, even if it does have a certain lack of personality. Black metal fans will probably love it while it’s playing, but it’s uncertain if anyone will remember any of it ten minutes after the disc ends.

Highs: Interesting, if brief, forays out of the standard black metal formula.

Lows: Some unnecessary repetition and endless blast beats, and the album lacks enough stand out elements to make it truly memorable.

Bottom line: An overall solid black metal album that should excite fans of Immortal and Gorgoroth, but its unlikely to stick around in the head very long after the last track ends.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)