The Sicilian band Malauriu have been a prolific source of black metal and dark experimental sounds for almost a decade. As detailed in an interview of mainman Schizoid published here at the beginning of 2022, Malauriu have tended to release their music mainly through EPs and splits. In March of this year they departed from the tradition by releasing their second (self-titled) full-length, but they now return to shorter works with a new EP named De Natura Obscuritatis that’s set for release on September 15th by the Italian label Black Mass Prayers.
To help spread the word about this new EP, we have already premiered a profoundly disturbing yet also frighteningly spellbinding song from it named “The Locust“, and today we reveal the whole soul-staggering work.
In writing about that earlier track premiere we observed how fitting it was that Malauriu chose a name for themselves which is a Sicilian word meaning “ill omen”. Throughout De Natura Obscuritatis the music is steeped in an atmosphere that’s both supernatural and unhealthy, both transportive and relentlessly perilous. It’s easy to become immersed in the experience, and not so easy to escape, even though your instincts for self-preservation may tell you to flee.
In its muffled drumming and dense, distorted riffing, which simultaneously saturates and abrades the mind, it shares a kinship with raw, lo-fi black metal. But rather than exclusively high rasping shrieks, the vocals also include low, cold-hearted growls and demented howls that seem to echo up from deep caves.
Perhaps the most striking and skin-shivering aspect of the music are the high piercing melodies, which sound like a cross between the wails of wraiths and the sonic equivalent of eerie phosphorescence radiating from murky black seas. The timbre of the corrosive, roiling, and raking riffs is dismal and hopeless; those ringing and swirling melodies seem to cross over from another dimension, and they seize attention in ways that aren’t soon forgotten.
The EP is striking in other ways. From song to song, the vocals begin to vary even more, and include reverent choral voices, monstrous chants, bestial pronouncements, and screams that dig like ice-picks in the ears. The intensity of the drumming ebbs and flows, stalking and lurching as well as discharging high-speed fusillades. The emotional quality of the riffing and the leads ranges as well, channeling deliriums of pain and wretched moans of agony.
By now you’re probably getting the point that De Natura Obscuritatis draws on deep and icy well-springs of misery and malice. Its unearthly qualities make the experience even more shuddering. The frightening otherworldliness of the music reaches its apotheosis in the nearly 15-minute title track, which closes the EP.
There, the sounds of mournful strings intertwine with gleaming ambient mists. Momentous timpanic booms and demonic chants ring through scathing sonic fogs and slow celestial waves that wash over the mind in chilling but hypnotic fashion. Operatic female vocals soar over the funereal tones of a cathedral organ. Martial snare beats reverberate around a crazed cacophony of inhuman voices and skittering electronics. The music seems to glimmer like stars and to ring like glass chimes. It wobbles and warbles, and it claws with knives.
Yes, it’s a very long piece, but so ingeniously conceived and meticulously crafted that your attention won’t wander as it twists and turns its way through a haunting and harrowing realm, delivering so many varying sonic sensations that they seem beyond numbering. The first three tracks on the EP are well worth your time, but this one is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Felis Catus – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
Schizoid – Guitars, Bass
Marbas – Drums
De Natura Obscuritatis was recorded between Phonoputìa Studio, Carcossea Cave, and Schizoid Lair during the first semester of 2022’s. It features cover art and layout by Azmeroth Szandor (who also created Malauriu‘s logo). The EP will be released by Black Mass Prayers on September 15th, and it’s available for pre-order now.