Unspeakable Axe Records has been a workhorse this year. Release after glorious release, they keep us coming back for more and today I have the great pleasure to premiere Maligner‘s debut EP, Demon.
Sweden’s Maligner pull absolutely no punches on their debut EP, Demon. Album opener, “The Die Is Cast” starts low with the fade in of machine gun fire and explosions, but the war doesn’t start until the riffs kick in. And when they do, all hell breaks loose. Maligner assaults the listener with a barrage of riffing precision that doesn’t let up for the length of this EP. Intricate single-note melodies and guitar runs weave in and out of the spattering of riffs on display here that will take the listener through the trenches. Guitarist Aztiak delivers impressive feats with sniper-like accuracy throughout Demon, but perhaps most well rendered on the aptly titled, “Immortalized.” Mortar-esque drum beats will explode around your head while subtle drum fills erupt at your feet, hurled at you by drummer Ertheb Somus-Ra. The assault isn’t over yet, however. During this uncompromising attack, singer and bassist Maligno leads the charge with his deadly war cry and methodical bass lines. His vocals sit perfectly balanced in the mix with just the right amount of clarity to keep a listener engaged as he spins tales of war and the corruptness of society. After first listen you will find yourself shouting along to the simple and catchy choruses of “Juggernaut” and “Adrenaline Rush” and trying your damnedest to hit the elusive falsetto bursts that Maligno releases.
This is THRASH METAL (with a hint of death, truthfully). “You guys who liked Ripper, Besieged, and Omnivore are in for a real treat – shit is wild,” says Unspeakable Axe’s label head. I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have the perfect album to back that statement, as the band does a phenomenal job of encapsulating their sounds of war into this concise release. Closing song “Shattered Reality” has gotten me pumped up like nothing else I have heard this year and I have been known to blurt out “PEOPLE LINED UP AND SHOT!” at random and sometimes inappropriate moments in front of my wife and coworkers.
If there is one thing bad I have to say about Demon, it would simply be a grumble regarding its brisk, 18-minute running time. Yes, I understand this is just supposed to be an EP and that it serves its purpose by giving me a taste of what the band has to offer. But dadgummit, I need more! Since my one complaint has absolutely nothing to do with quality, Demon has worked its way, at least in my ears, to being one of 2016’s best Thrash releases. I am massively stoked for the future of Maligner. 5/5 HAIL & KILLS!
Check out Maligner on Unspeakable Axe Record’s bandcamp page and webshop. Like and follow Unspeakable Axe Records on Facebook, if you haven’t already, and keep an eye out for Maligner’s future endeavors.