Formed in 2019 by Grond of White Death and P.J. of Morgal and ex-Armour, Finland’s Malignament released their first demo in the same year. Most reviews, including the one on this website, seem to praise the band’s take on Black Metal. The quality Finnish Black Metal label Primitive Reaction must have thought the same, as they released the band’s debut album in 2021 on CD and vinyl.
On ‘Hypocrisis Absolution’ the band has struck an interesting balance between two styles of Black Metal that aren’t usually combined. On one hand we find the ferocity and thundering sound of Behexen on their latest two sledgehammer records ‘Nightside Emanations’ and ‘The Poisonous Path’. This is carefully blended with the melodic focus of Mgła, in particular on the latest album ‘Age of Excuse’. Now, ‘Hypocrisis Absolution’ is neither as violent as Behexen or as creative as Mgła, instead opting for slightly more melody in their riffs, but the combination works surprisingly well. At times it sounds a lot like Mgła (like in ‘Storm and Chaos Within’), other times more like Behexen (for instance ‘Unforgiving North’), but most of the time the band manages to balance both craftfully (‘Like Rats They Followed’ is a great example). For certain guitarist P.J. has a great sense of adding melody to fierce Black Metal, something he also showed with his other band Morgal. Most of the vocals are hoarse and border on grunts, but there are some clean vocals on tracks like ‘Call to Arms’ and ‘Bloodlust and Immortality’ as well. I’m not a huge fan of these, but I will forgive them for it. Perhaps the album dips a bit in intensity towards the end, but before we get there some proper highlights have been served in songs like ‘Like Rats They Followed’, ‘Unforgiving North’ and ‘Wolf and the Moon’.
Simply put, the debut of Malignament is a great combination of melody and ferocity. A mix between Behexen and Mgła might not seem like it would work, but if anyone can do it, it has to be the Finns who just have a knack for adding whatever they want to music without losing sight of the Black Metal sound. Malignament sure pull it off on ‘Hypocrisis Absolution’. Very strong debut album!