Hadal Maw

“The mouth of hell”. That is what Hadal Maw roughly translates to and the band has released an album that defines that translation with substantial purity. Very much steeped in the realm of death metal, they manage to throw in bits-and-pieces of discordant hardcore to complete a sound that is very reminiscent of modern death metal without sounding too derivative or stale. Upon first listen, one wouldn’t be remiss in lumping them in with the likes of Fallujah but that would be too easy of a comparison. They certainly have some core-leanings in their “deathness” and definitely some “progressive” spacey parts that helped make The Flesh Prevails such a standout album but Hadal Maw lay upon some heft and deep guttural vocals that fall more on the “death” side of the metal gauge. With members having spent time in Alarum, King Parrot,  and A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Hadal Maw brings their collective experience to the forefront and have produced an album that is very much on par with the best that Australia has to offer in the world of metal.

“Aetas De Morior” begins the album on the perfect note. No filler intro track here. Just pure intensity from the get go. It’s reminiscent of Behemoth and Fallujah in the sense that it is very hefty and distorted with some melodic guitars in the background but it has an incredible pace. It slows things down slightly towards the end but that’s just a tease for it gets heavy again. “Invisible Eye” has some more of that melodic background guitar that adds an element of spacey atmosphere but it’s really quiet. This track keeps up that pace from the “Aetas De Morior” but a little more on the “core” side.

“Corridors” has some delicious low end vocals that really showcase the range that Aaron has with the microphone. Almost Cattle Decapitation-like with the sound that is created. It’s as if he is literally puking while vocalizing. It’s not a constant though because he mainly has a mid range bark that carries with it an air of death metal dissonance. They are showcased very well in each song but “Dissent” is probably the best example of where he can go with both. It starts out with some beautiful lows that are accented gracefully by the sparse guitar and tom heavy drum beat. It then breaks into some Man Must Die-esque death metal speed that is perfectly stated with a guitar tone that seems to get more distorted and dirty the further the track progresses. There’s a slight breakdown of sorts in the middle section that also has a groove to it that really helps diversify this album.

At times there’s some guitar playing to reminds me of Council of the Fallen. A few parts here and there of solo-ish type stuff that sounded somewhat familiar. That band is one of my favourites so I can’t hate on that at all. A nice instrumental piece, “Ancestry”, breaks the album up a little bit. All drums that have a tribal-ish vibe about them that is all ear candy. There’s some deep guttural chanting stuff that is barely audible too. I can’t tell if it’s a didgeridoo though. “Coil” follows the instrumental with a mid range guitar tone and pace that recalls A Life Once Lost before they got super simplistic and  slightly after their really tech stuff. “Hypnoguise” has that same tone but it’s heavier for sure. It’s very rhythmic too. Almost groovy but there really isn’t an emphasis on that aspect. It almost seems to happy naturally.

The album ends with the trio of “The Lurid”, “Altar of Ire”, and “Obsequia”. “The Lurid” is propelled by a drum heavy attack with the same dirty guitar tone from previous tracks. I hear traces of Decrepit Birth in the schizophrenic speed at which some of these songs play out and this track is prime example of that. “Altar of Ire” seems to carry the most groove of the songs displayed on this album. A very tom heavy back end with some great guitar interplay definitely will keep many necks sore in a live setting. If any song could be construed as a “single” or standout track, this one would certainly fit that bill. Very memorable in delivery and catchy as fuck. “Obsequia” is pure death. Very fast, brutal, and maniacal drums; the drums on this album are insane and this song really showcases that.

Hadal Maw are a great addition to the an already abundant Australian metal scene. This album came out last year so I can’t say it’ll be on any year end lists this year but it certainly belongs on last year’s lists. A very competent and effective death metal album that will please many ears.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris S
March 4th, 2015


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