As I sit here skimming through my current year-end list I’ve noticed a glaring absence of Black Metal bands. Seriously, apart from the new ARCKANUM and perhaps the new WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM I really haven’t come across anything truly special from the genre this year. Well, Italy’s MALFEITOR have remedied this situation in one fell swoop with “Incubus”, an album of gloriously stripped-down EVIL Black Metal straight out of the early 90s playbook. A very pleasant surprise indeed, made even more significant seeing as how this is essentially a side-project of ABORYM members and the polar opposite of the latter’ s avant-garde approach to the genre.
“Incubus” has a tangible sense of evil to it, with everything from the croaky vocals to the serrated riffs carrying that special aura of death and darkness that marked the genre’s formative years. There’s nothing fancy to it but the band focuses on its strengths, its fusion of “Under A Funeral Moon” grimness and “Pure Holocaust” speed perfectly capturing that grimy essence of the olden days. Though sticking rather religiously to the basics of the genre the band is not above injecting proceedings with a fair bit of variety – from the catchy as fuck riffs of “Mysterious Mystical Majestic” to the DARK FUNERAL-like precision speed attack of “Into The Qliphot Of Golachab” (which contrasts well with its Doom-laden first half) to the slightly Black ‘n Roll vibe of “Void Of Voids” the band keeps things interesting and just to reiterate: evil.
Yes, they do miss the points on certain occasions – “Dark Saturnian Chaos” is rather repetitive (the chorus is repeated over and over like a mantra...) and “Antisaturno (Thunapsu)” is a throwaway ambient track – but on the whole the album is a winner and excellent tribute of sorts to the early days of the genre. “Incubus” is a damn fine album and definitely one of the better traditional BM albums I’ve come across in the last few years. Like I said, there’s nothing fancy or revolutionary about this album, but just like a good dish of spaghetti and meatballs it gets the job done, every time.
(Online September 21, 2009)