The Swedish death/thrashing power trio Maligner wear their late-’80s and early-’90s influences on their sleeves, blasting ahead in the footsteps of such bands as Sadus, Dark Angel, and perhaps most especially Human-era Death. But it’s one thing to draw influence from bands like those and it’s quite another to execute on a vision with the kind of supreme confidence and jaw-dropping skill displayed by Maligner on their debut album, Attraction To Annihilation.
They waste no time establishing their credentials, opening the album with a track (“Oath-bound”) that’s an explosive adrenaline-surge powered by lightning-fast fret-work and agile, rhythmically dynamic drumming with a propensity to turn on a dime. Serving up an array of blaring chords and frenzied riffs, this trio explode through the song in a way that’s surgically precise but capable of channeling bonfires of chaos.
“Oath-bound” also introduces the listener to the scalding howls and shrieks of vocalist/bassist Maligno, who delivers his vicious proclamations and furious vituperations like an enraged panther in a fight to the death (and here again, as in the case of the band’s instrumental extravagances, memories of Chuck Schuldiner may come to mind). The song also features the first of the numerous solos by guitarist Aztiak that are scattered across the album, which are scorching enough to cause hyperventilation, as well as a first exposure to drummer Ertheb Somus-Ra‘s constantly surprising twists and turns.
From that opening track, Maligner rarely relent from their torrid rush. A mid-paced, lurching cadence launches “Lust For Fire”; slow, eerie guitar reverberations pave the way into “Disposable”; and a moody piano solo brings “Reign of Fear” to a close; but with those few exceptions Maligner have the turbochargers fully engaged… which is why the technical proficiency of their instrumental performances is so impressive.
Even at such high rates of speed, the band revel in complex rhythmic interplay and intricate song structures, salting these vicious escapades with progressive flourishes that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. And make no mistake, the music really is murderous. The moods of the music do change — there’s an air of magisterial eminence about “Reign of Fear”, and “Beyond Repair” is both grim and freakishly twisted, to mention but two examples — but the feral, rampant savagery of the music persists despite the band’s dizzying technical exuberance and inventive song-writing.
This really is an enormously eye-opening debut, and it’s our great pleasure to present the premiere of a full album stream today.
Attraction To Annihilation will be released by Blood Harvest Records and Helter Skelter Productions on August 31st, in CD and vinyl editions. Pre-order via the links below.