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Malediction – The Soil Throne [EP]

malediction – the soil throne [ep]


Over the course of their existence in the first half of the 90’s, UK Death/Grind band Malediction has experimented with a lot of different styles, going from a position quite close to their native Grindcore scene to a far more doomy approach on some of their later outings. Not only did the band seemed to have difficulties in finding their own sound, or niche if you will, also the regular changes in personnel left a mark on Malediction’s short-lived career. Still, the band was able to leave a mark on that early 90’s UK Death Metal scene, especially the three 7” EP’s and their split tape with the then up and coming Cradle Of Filth were a rather wide-spread phenomenon, not in the least because of heavy tape-trading.

Also on me personally the band left their mark as those 7” EP’s were one of the earliest cornerstones of my personal collection. So, as also extensively discussed with the band in the interview I had with guitarist Rich Mumford a few months back, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the band’s return. In this current reincarnation of Malediction has some of its original members, only replacing the rhythm section with a new bassist and drummer, so one could say that the core of Malediction is still very much intact. But as mentioned above, the band never was able to strike a trademark sound, so when putting on ‘The Soil Throne’, their first newly recorded material in well over two decades, means that you are in for a surprise regardless.

From the opening seconds of ‘Black Narcissus’ it is immediately and abundantly clear that Malediction was really out to lift their band to current-day standards in terms of production and sound. There is practically nothing left of the, at times rather murky, sound of yesteryear. It is not only the guitars that have a thorough heavy crunch, but surely the overall production is much meatier than ever before. A surprise for sure. Of course, for the relative outsider it is only guessing, but I wouldn’t have thought that this is the sound that the band was looking for back in those days. But judging from the musical formula presented on this 6-track EP it does feel like a logical fit.

Like on those previously released recordings, this EP definitely takes the band in yet another direction. In fact, none of these new tracks are remotely comparable to the older material – in all honesty, I don’t think I would’ve recognized the band from these songs. While it doesn’t really sound much like Malediction, it feels rather close to a band like Fleshcrawl. The aforementioned opening seconds of the EP would not exactly sound out of place on one of the Fleshcrawl albums from the mid 00’s. So, fairness dictates to say that Malediction did not really reinvent any wheels, but neither did they take an easy route to just simply excavate some old ideas. The much heavier riffs with the almost Swedish production took something away from that charming Grinding guitar sound of the past, but on the closing track, with its moody melody and some acoustic strumming, there is an echo of the more doomy side of the band to be discerned.

A critical note can perhaps be made on the overall sound. Because that production is something that has left its mark considerably on this 25-minute EP. Not only does it sound more modern than ever before, because of the mix it also takes some getting used to. To my ears, the drums and especially the vocals do lie very loud in the mix, demanding a bit much attention. This slight mismatch means that the songs may not reach their full potential and it may well be that possible follow-up recordings will carry a more balanced sound.

All in all, ‘The Soil Throne’ is a solid return for a band that to me always felt like it was held back by a string of unlucky events. Now that everyone has aged over 20 years, the cards may well have changed, so let’s hope Malediction doesn’t take another two decades to follow up this EP.


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