Thursday, 11 March 2021

Malakhim - Theion


Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 08 Jan 2021


Tracklist:


1. There Is A Beacon

2. Merciless Angel Of Pestilence

3. Slither O Serpent

4. Chalice Of Ruin

5. His Voiceless Whisper

6. Hammer Of Satan

7. The Splendour Of Stillborn Stars

8. Theion


I've been less than active over recent days and it's been playing on my mind, so making time this evening to write is going some way to counteracting that. I felt there was no better release to delve into than the first full-length from Swedish black/death metal band Malakhim, titled Theion. It was released in early January via Iron Bonehead Productions on various formats and continues the allegiance formed by both band and label, since the release of Malakhim's debut Demo I in 2017/2018. 


There’s one thing you can always count on with Swedish bands and it’s that they have a keen ear for melody, which is definitely the case on Theion. The melodic death metal beginnings on album opener ‘There Is A Beacon’ throws you into a false sense of security, before Malakhim launches headfirst into some breathtakingly off-kilter black metal, which straddles various extreme metal lines on purpose. Precise and musical, without either being too obvious. ‘Merciless Angel Of Pestilence’ is more your archetypal black metal song, with blasting drums and reverbed vocals, though the metallic guitars do add a different edge to it as well. The driving tempo is very befitting of the quintet though and while this piece is shorter that many of the songs on Theion, it’s still evident how much care they take with their musicality. 


There’s more than a nod to traditional heavy metal in the guitar melodies that introduce ‘Slither O Serpent’. What follows is another heady mix of off-kilter dynamism and icy black metal atmosphere. As the song title suggests, it’s an evil beast, yet it’s eminently enjoyable too. The shamanistic/ritualistic vocals on ‘Chalice Of Ruin’ show off the occult influence that flows through Malakhim’s lyrics and music. They help to create an atmosphere of genuine foreboding and fear, which is hard for most bands to do nowadays. Music like this is all about setting a scene and one that’s unnerving. Malakhim manages that without trying too hard. 


They effortlessly step into ‘His Voiceless Whisper’ without you even noticing and in doing so, they drag you into the second half of Theion with the use of both percussive groove and battery. They retain all of the elements that made you take note during the first half, sounding ever more assured while doing so. As obvious as the title ‘Hammer Of Satan’ is to a seasoned extreme metal fan, it’s also a very obvious choice for this song, as it delivers blow after blow of Malakhim’s trademark black/death metal. It’s the shortest of their eight songs here but it’s no less for it. I’m still blown away by the riffs on this album, as the band’s musical talent shines through the darkness.


The more expansive penultimate song ‘The Splendour Of Stillborn Stars’ dials the tempo back ever so slightly in places, but you still can’t rest as the march of progress continues and Malakhim’s black metal hypnotises you while also smashing you across the head with yet more raging instrumentation. They leave the title track ’Theion’ till the very end, which works perfectly well. It’s their final chance to send their driving heaviness into your head and if they haven’t already managed that with the songs that came before it, they certainly will with this. Enigmatic guitar tones, powerful drumming and authoritative vocals call time on one hell of a debut full-length from a band that takes their craft very seriously indeed.


Malakhim set their stall out early in 2021 but in doing so, have produced an album that will still be ringing out once the year’s beacons have stopped burning. It’s still way too early to be talking about albums of the year, but this one may well be up there.


You can stream and purchase Theion digitally from Malakhim below:-


Malakhim - https://www.facebook.com/Malakhimofficial


CD and LP copies can be purchased from Iron Bonehead Productions below:-

https://shop.ironbonehead.de/


Iron Bonehead Productions - https://www.facebook.com/IronBoneheadProductions

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