Maladie
...Still...

Christ……

Just when I think I literally cannot hear anything fresh new and different in metal, along comes Maladie. This 9-person German collective is comprised of folks from various mid-level German Death metal acts like Tombthroat, Deadborn and Spheron, as well as Belgian post-rockers We All Die (Laughing). That totals up to 3 Guitarists, 2 vocalists, a saxophone player and change, and all come together to deliver one of the most stunning albums I’ve heard recently.

Falling under the current wave of ‘extreme progressive music’ that covers the likes of Ne Obliviscaris and Black Crown Initiate, but maybe with a more black metal base coat, Maladie deliver a vast spectrum of styles from progressive, thrash, black and death metal, all delivered with lots of synths, a saxophone, and a wide array of vocal styles. Imagine Unexpect, Emperor and Solefald feverishly finger-banging each others’ buttholes while Disillusion and Ne Obliviscaris watch and all are jerking off to a Wagnerian opera.

So now that that immature description is done with, the music itself is utterly mesmerizing, even if it’s all over the place. But its innate German craziness and shattering-glass delivery is done so well, and with enough hooks and soaring memorable moments of captivating extremity, that it’s worthwhile, if exhausting. Case and point, there’s enough going on in the absolutely mindblowing opener “Demutatio” to fill most other albums alone. Starting with austere church chorals, the album twists and blasts its way through soaring clean vocals, vicious black metal shrieks and blasts and tech-death wizardry, climaxing in a clean segment that’s utterly knee wilting.

Luckily, Maladie smartly break up this artful cacophony with a number of equally alluring orchestral/piano pieces like “Agnitio”, “Abdico” and “Curcuitus”, so that the listener can catch a breath. And thank the lord for the gorgeous “Agnitio”, otherwise “Demutatio” would have led right into the 18-fucking-minute “Inextensia”, which takes “Demutatio” and doubles it, and even invokes Emperor’s “Cosmic Keys to my Creation and Time” along the way. It’s sheer insanity and not for the faint of heart, as the amount of influences and things going on is almost unfathomable.

These longer tracks are clearly the album’s centerpieces, as the above 2 tracks – along with the equally brilliant 15-minute, sax laced “Semivivus” (imbued with a little Pan Thy Monium) – make the likes of “Asperitas,” “Discrepantia” or closer “Evigilantem” seem like afterthoughts. They each deliver their own shorter (still 5-8 minutes) snippets of superb auditory insanity (notably “Discrepantia”), so those lacking the patience to absorb the truly challenging longer numbers can go straight to these. Especially closer “Evigilantem”, which is actually one of the few more even-tempered, non-instrumental moments of the album, at least initially…

And as good as the musicianship and musical creativity is here, the multi-faceted vocals steal the show with Deha, Bernd Wener and Alexander Wenz delivering the entire spectrum of vocals. We’ve got prog metal croons, choirs, deep death growls, middle eastern chants,  tortured wails and psychotic black metal rasps… often all at the same time. It all adds to the often overwhelming package, but also comes together to form something truly unique when combined with the devastatingly ambitious mix and delivery of sonic extremity.

…Still… is one of the most challenging and brilliant albums I’ve heard, and like Ne Obliviscaris’s Citadel last year, it will be near the top, if not at the top of my 2015 year end list. It might also just be covered in the ‘New Classics’ feature 10 years from now.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 22nd, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Zach

    Wow what a great find killer band.


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Great review Erik, very interested to check this out. Video link doesn’t appesr to be working or maybe it’s my tablet.


  3. Commented by: Ace Barker

    “Imagine Unexpect, Emperor and Solefald feverishly finger-banging each others’ buttholes while Disillusion and Ne Obliviscaris watch and all are jerking off to a Wagnerian opera.”

    ……YES. *thumb up*


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