First things first: yours truly is not the biggest fan of Black or Viking Metal, which is precisely the style Spain’s MALEÏT play. So, if you’re wondering how they stack up against other acts, I can only go off just a handful of bands that I really don’t spend much time listening to. What I can tell you: MALEÏT have not sold me on either genre.
MALEÏT’s first full-length album, 2011’s “Maleïnt El Món,” is simply too expansive for its own damn good. The album is stoked with melodic solos, impressive bass play, and thoughtful song structures, but it all becomes too much of a burden after a while. Sitting down and directing one’s sole attention to “Maleïnt El Món” is an absolute effort, a draining experience that forces you to decipher whether or not you have heard a particular riff before, or if you even care.
Focusing their ideas into a shortened and concise format is where MALEÏT struggle mightily. Music is not so different than writing in some aspects; just because you fill the page with a bunch of words doesn’t mean you need or should keep them all. There’s an invisible barrier that artists need to understand, and keeping their audiences interested is paramount, especially when you’re playing in a Heavy Metal band.
Unlike MALEÏT, this reviewer is gonna keep it short and sweet. Tracks like “Mort en Vida” and “Titans” have that particular ‘epic’ Viking vibe with walls of stampeding guitars and unstoppable drumming, even offering moments of operatic singing that, for the most part, aren’t exactly bad. “Insectes” and “La Quietud Dels Inferns” are sheer Black Metal episodes replete with frantic tremolo riffing, blast beats, and warlock growls; “La Negació” opens with soft mellow guitar picking and crooning before ripping into more of the same melodic Death, and the album highlight, “L'Escarni Dels Febles,” showcases a variety of interesting arrangements and expressive, tireless guitar playing.
Ultimately, it’s just song after song that sounds impressive but lasts way too long for me to care and does little in the way of making me want to break shit over my knee Bo Jackson-style. I could be wrong, but I believe the album is sung in Spanish; not sure if that helps anybody out. In any case, you can really do a whole hell of a lot worse than “Maleïnt El Món.” It’s played with precision and certainly with plenty of passion, but goddamn, amigos, you don’t need to stuff this thing like a piñata just because it’s called a long-player.
Recommended for fans of the aforementioned styles…and for those who enjoy listening to ambitious background music.
(Online October 14, 2011)