MALHKEBRE - Revelation

Malhkebre - Revelation

9 songs
38:32 minutes
***** **
I, Voidhanger


I wouldn’t say that Malhkebre is the best black metal band I have ever come across... far from that! But this crazy quartet from Toulouse sounds so insane that I just had no choice but write my thoughts about their music. Don’t ask me about the band name, because I don’t know what it means. I did find out that these guys practise some kind of Satanism, meaning that their black metal is far removed from the aesthetics of cold winter nights, snow and wolves. Instead we get the ugly truth behind it all, in this case musicians who like to strip naked and blood covered. And I still can’t make up my mind if all of this is now silly or scary or even both.

The band started in 2002, and so far released only an obscure and ultra-rare demo, an EP, a split-7”, and now finally their first longplayer Revelation which begins with the less than one minute short Multi Sunt Vocati, sounding like a Satanic invocation with bells and dark, barked vocals. The following In Pulverem Reverteris underlines the French guys’ fondness for the dead Latin language, but furthermore shows why I am so intrigued by their music. This is raw, evil black metal, with fiercely distorted guitars, but otherwise hardly any effects. Malhkebre not only prefer to strip down naked themselves, but also their music, which therefore comes with a very direct quality that has a certain proto feeling of early black metal masterworks. This song is a little over six minutes long and contains everything the band is about: slow parts, chaotic and hectic movement, fast and straightforward moments. The vocals, like the music, come without any alteration, in this case with venom and wickedness. There is even one part where I hear the vocalist shouting “Hodor” all the time, but I guess that’s just a mondegreen (and if you don’t know what that means, just look it up on Wikipedia).

Up next is another not-quite song, Hystérie Révélatrice (Part I), two minutes of sound effects and weeping women, feeling like the soundtrack of a really nasty horror movie. Hystérie Révélatrice (Part II) follows right after with seven more minutes of nastiness. Starting out with a very slow rhythm, we get some kind of proto black metal (Hellhammer, Sodom) mixed with sludge metal. But Malhkebre wouldn’t be themselves if once again there weren’t tons of unexpected pace changes and unusual chord sequences. Are these guys just talented with some weird sense of jazz aesthetics, or is this just coincidence arising out of random chaos? Hard to say, but there definitely are some interesting and very worthwhile moments.

Dogma is another short piece consisting of industrial noise and a dark Satanic voice, but that’s the last of that, as the remaining four tracks are more regular tracks. I won’t go into details now, but let’s sum up that Revelation, Malhkebre’s debut longplayer, comes with a very raw and basic production which will turn away a certain ration of typical black metal listeners. If you have the patience and willingness to dig beneath the surface, you will be rewarded with a very intriguing piece of art that may by a little over the top when it comes to graphic contents, but otherwise offers a nice twist on the Satanic music genre. Instead of your typical high register, shrill up-tempo blast attacks, the listener gets a more varied product with an atypical jazz sound hidden beneath a chaotic veneer. Had the early Voivod celebrated Satan, it wouldn’t have sounded that much different. In the end we are left with a rather short album, containing only six regular songs plus three tracks that rather work as intros. A little more would have been welcome, but we should be grateful enough for this truly different take on an often staid genre.

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