posted on 10/2009 By:
When faced with 50+ minutes of black metal, I usually expect to be greeted by the more ethereal, atmospheric varieties of the style, so the sophomore full-length release from Italy’s Malfeitor was quite a surprise by the mere fact that this turned out to be the opposite of grandiose. Instead, Incubus stomps strongly upon classic Norwegian territory by staying true to a rawer, more primitive aesthetic without sounding too terribly derivative. The sheer mass of this album, however, proves to be a bit of an attention challenge, especially when some tracks seem to be composed mostly of questionable filler (“Void Of Voids”, “Promethian Fire”) that don’t do anything but bump up the running length, as well as the strange exotic/industrial mashup that comprises much of the uneventful closer, “Antisaturno (Thunapsu)”.
Malefeitor is at its best when plowing headlong into tight, burning tremolo at breakneck speeds, and though we’ve heard many riffs like these before, we haven’t necessarily heard these exact riffs before. You can definitely hear a bit of Watain, Aborym, and Keep Of Kalessin crashing and then receding on occasion (no big surprise), but killer tunes such as the title track, “The Other Half”, along with the one-two opening punch of “Down With Me”, and “Into The Qliphot Of Golachab” more than make up for a lack of ingenuity by being very solidly arranged. Even though these tunes are on the longer side, when things do click well, there’s just enough of a dynamic element to their structures that keeps the flow moving along at a decent pace, even if those dynamic elements aren’t very far-reaching, or innovative.
A notable trimming of the excess overall fat could have helped Incubus make more of an impact, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of the high-quality 2009 metal year as it is, so I don’t think many people are jumping over each other to obtain this new Malfeitor right now. It would be a shame for this album to be completely overlooked since it’s pretty good as a whole, but this isn’t always an easy disc to digest in one uninterrupted sitting. It’s not grossly or excessively bloated, Incubus just overstays it’s welcome by a few very long minutes, but being jam-packed full of thrashing black goodness isn’t too hard of a thing to live with.
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