Disguised Malignance – Entering The Gateways Review

There are countless ways for bands to get going, but a couple that tend to prove smart sit at the opposite end of a certain spectrum. First, and most common, is taking established style and honing skills within those bounds before really stretching out. Or a band might go wild with ideas before they even have a foundation in place, an approach that might not lead to great tunes but it’ll surely ensure creative juices are running. No one wants to be both painfully unoriginal and bad at their craft. That’ll get you a one-way ticket to snoresville.

Release date: September 29, 2023. Label: Prosthetic Records.
The young lads in Finland’s Disguised Malignance are obviously and enthusiastically taking the former path. Debut full length Entering the Gateways is just about completely devoid of innovation, but it shows the band’s true knack for emulating their heroes and displays a songwriting efficiency that a lot of bands twice their age could use. Their age might be the most promising aspect here. These boys are young, with the two guys playing on this record ‒ vocalist/guitarist/drummer Felix Pennanen and bassist Aatos Palmu ‒ both barely 18 years old.

So the fact that they can do an extremely respectable job splicing together old death metal from all over Europe (especially their homeland) and even some Morbid Angel (the “floating” Trey trem riffs) deserves some real praise. Entering the Gateways being an efficient, infectiously chunky, and somewhat evil death metal listen surely helps.

“Gates to Nihil” kicks it off with heaps of buzzing death somewhere between Entombed, Demigod, and Vader before going extra melodic in the tremolo harmonies and even dropping some Gregor Mackintosh-y leads. “Unearthly Extinction” gets both catchier and more brutal, starting with some infectious Stockholm bounce before dropping a syncopated right hand pattern that would make Erik Rutan grin. Elsewhere, “Malignant Visions” offers near melodeath parts and knuckledragging lurch; “Disengagement Into Eternity” possesses the record’s most malevolent hook (check in at about 2:20); and “Remnants of Serenity” goes both blasty and machine gun before it opens up and allows the listener to contemplate the manner of their doom; and so on and so forth. Through it all, Pennanen’s deep, slightly dry gutturals add to the demonic setting.

Overall, Entering the Gateways is a notch or two short of really hitting that upper level in pure song excitement, but it’s nonetheless a rock solid and very promising start from these young Finns, and at about 34 minutes is a quality quick beating. Now a full five-piece, here’s hoping Disguised Malignance will work quickly to take that next step, because the foundation is fun.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

  1. Thoroughly enjoying this album, thanks. It’s a surprisingly strong debut. Are you sure these guys are in high school? When I was their age I was just drunk (but also listening to Judas Priest).


    1. Between this and Begravement, I’d say the kids are alright when it comes to death metal


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