Originally written by Drew Ailes
Malleus Maleficarum. Wasn’t that the name of the witch from Sleeping Beauty? Remember when she turns into a giant dragon at the end? Man. That shit was pretty awesome. Malleus Maleficarum isn’t the the Disney character of the aforementioned name. Nor is it some sort of fucked up 15th century guide to witches. Or the Pestilence album of the same name. It’s black metal. French black metal. French, raw, under-produced, black metal.
Barbaric and fast-paced in their execution, Malleus Maleficarum have the classic “angry bees in a jar” guitar tone and competent drum-work that intentionally sounds like shit. They’re true black metal in the truest way truly possible. Burzumesque. Darkthroney. The vocals, one of the higher points of the album, are fucking over the top, shreiking and grating from start to finish. They’ve got a great bass tone and a stable bassist to actually compliment it, as well. Rounding out a few of the tunes with some solid and somber acoustic melodies, it’s hard not to believe a lot of heart went into the making of the album. The production, which is also very true in a truthful manner, could even be a lot worse. They’re certainly straddling the fence of truth concerning how bad the recording is, yet how intelligible it remains. It’s all very decent, I have to say. So what’s the real problem, then? No real problem, necessarily, it’s just boring as all hell. There isn’t anything particularly commanding about “Des Hymnes, Des Bibles Et Des Icones“, despite their threatening French song titles, like “Ballet Mortuaire”, which look so evil to silly fat Americans like myself.
But man. Those vocals. I’d really like to hear such a fine performance throughout all of the black metal that comes through these reviewing doors.
Due to their moniker, I was disappointed from the beginning. This album could’ve been so much better if it were that Pestilence album. It could’ve even been a Disney villian, or an old book. But it wasn’t. The album partially recovers from this initial let down, but never brings anything strong and lasting to the table. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily contribute anything to the realm of underproduced French black metal, it doesn’t detract from it either. Personally, I’d rather hear something with a little more variation to offer. Malleus Maleficarum, although not the most creative or original lads on the wine and cheese block, are at least steady in their delivery of what most people may find to be a tired genre.