'Maledictum' is the second full length from Swedish Black Metal trio 'Flagellant' and follow up to
2010's debut 'Monuments'. They are also another of those bands that like to surround
themselves in an air of dark mystery by being known only by an initial, J on drums, S on Guitars and
E on Bass..
Opening track, 'From The Abyss They Shine' begins with a haunting, atmosphere building sound-
scape for the first minute before switching to the distorted abrasive guitars and harsh vocals that
will make up the core of the album. The classic Black Metal plodding beat to the construct gets your
head nodding immediately.
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Maintaining classic Black Metal rhythms but upping the tempo, the album continues
with 'Towers Of Silence', a varied and interesting track with several direction and tempo
changes. 'Necromantic Revelations' has hypnotic distorted repeat rhythms overlaid with harsh
There is a very epic and urgent feel to the chugging repeat riffs and crashing cymbals in the opening of 'Domini
Canes'. As the pace picks up midway the sense of urgency increases creating a powerful and
'A Rebirth Of Sterility' begins with a slower, bleak, haunting repeat riff for the first minute
before developing into a more intense spiralling repeat riff pattern. Again the harsh relentless vocals
are overlaid to powerful effect.
On 'Horned Shadows Rise', bleak, ominous, distorted riffs rise and fall beneath excellent, intense,
harsh and sometimes even hateful and scathing vocals. Tempo and direction changes make this one
the best of the seven minute plus, marathon length tracks.
A brief soundscape opener on 'Rousing The Serpent' before breaking into a catchy riff that
keeps re-emerging throughout the track. The good use of tempo change
throughout keeps you interested, making this my my favourite track on the album. It is also not too
long, some of the seven minute tracks could have got away with being a minute or so shorter.
When the final track, 'Thirteen Cauldrons Boil 'began I didn't think I was going to like it. Initially it
sounded disjointed and a little discordant but as the pace picked up and it opened out to become
the fastest track on the album with even the vocals reaching breakneck speed, it suddenly made
sense. A fast paced and exciting finale to the album. The final minute closes on a rather
scary spoken outro. Marvellous!
I felt throughout the album there was a bit of an early Burzum influence to the guitars while the vocals anchored their style to its Swedish roots, something I liked a lot. The album is
quite a challenging listen but I believe Black Metal should be just that.
Musically it isn't ground breaking, just straightforward Black Metal, but it is good, very good in
fact and when you can produce an album of this quality why bother to try and get too technical or
clever. It is just an excellent amalgamation of straightforward abrasive, melodic guitars and harsh,
resonating vocals presented in a traditional style, so what more could you ask? Personally, I really enjoyed 'Maledictum'.