Shame on you death metal labels. While busy churning out mindless hordes of gore grind and releasing mediocre efforts from bands like Torture Killer, Hate Eternal, Divine Empire, Bile, Krisiun or even rehashing the past with the likes of Obituary and Cryptopsy and a band like Vore remains criminally unsigned.While most of the underground is obsessed with speed and technicality and while I appreciate bands like Decapitated and Nile and Decrepit Birth blowing me away, I am a bit of a death metal fossil, preferring restraint, control and a lumbering slower pace to sheer velocity, and Vore are masters of this craft with Maleficus being a foreboding, superbly crafted effort that culls Immolation and Morbid Angel’s slow moments and Nile’s epic slowdowns.

With nary a blast beat in site, Vore’s mid paced yet pummeling pace is graced by a superb production and powerful vocal clarity that simply outdoes about 80% of the death metal I have heard in the last year. From the he Nile-like, chant laden grooves of the opening title track, to the closing of “Fall Unto Chaos,” Maleficus left me grinning, slamming and grimacing with its controlled yet articulate throes of staggering, lurching death metal. The almost doom like gait isn’t too lethargic or drawn out, just perfectly balanced with menacing, churning, mid tempo salvos of force.

The thing is, it’s not just simple mid paced drivel like Jungle Rot, Vore exude a aura of titanic power and depth within their structures. Every song has some sort of neck snapping, fist clenching climactic groove that registers on some sort of personal musical Richter scale; from the precise, unflinching pace of “The Line That Divides,” the mammoth mid section of “Threshold of Empowerment,” the initially more urgent “Wrath Wrought Ruin” and the perfect closure of “Fall Unto Chaos,” Maleficus kept my attention throughout. Something not many modern death metal albums have done. And even with the album’s relatively singular pace, each song has its own personality and dynamics – a credit to Vore’s song writing skills. “Legions of the Martyr” and “Ashes” give brief, but rather needless interludes, but show Vore competence in other areas beside pummeling death metal. My only minor gripe would be the brevity of the songs and the album, I’d love to hear what Vore would do with an 11 minute epic or something.

I wholeheartedly recommend Maleficus to death fans AND labels alike….( Are you reading this Listenable?)

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 6th, 2006


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