22 November 2013
by Pete Long
A band’s name should tell you something about them. Malthusian have named themselves after the theories of the Reverend Malthus regarding the role of war, disease and famine in keeping population levels sustainable. It is a name heavy with connotations of pessimism, inhumanity and cruelty. Given that MMXIII is the first release from the Dublin based four-piece, that name is the best clue of what to expect from this three song demo.
It is a very accurate guide.
First song ‘Wraith///Plague Spore’ opens with a slow and atmospheric passage, a cold, keening melody that wouldn’t be out of place on a lot of black metal albums. Then, with relatively little warning, all Hell breaks loose. It’s not unlike early Kataklysm, although heavier and more polished. Whoever’s produced this has put some real power behind the low end, so kudos to them for that, although the drums sound muddy and indistinct at times.
The band treads easily over the boundaries between black and death metal. The riffing is impressive as too are the vocals. With three vocalists, there are both high-pitched howls and low growls, equally unintelligible but no less impressive for it. As already said, the drumming doesn’t always come across clearly. This is a shame as what can be heard is skilled. There is a high level of musicianship throughout this demo and although their influences are obvious, Malthusian are taking their own path.
Most importantly, it is executed very well. It is difficult to pick out stand out moments but equally difficult to pick out a moment where MMXIII demands anything less than full attention. People talk about brutality and hostility in metal. It is very difficult to get that atmosphere now due to sheer repetition. Malthusian do a decent job of showing there are still possibilities here. For those who like their metal full of relentless misanthropy, Malthusian might be about to become a very important name.
Sounds Like: A bleakly exciting blend of extreme metal
Standout Tracks: Wraith///Plague Spore, Hallucinogen