MALNATT - Happy Days

Malnatt - Happy Days

9 songs
42:35 minutes
***** ****


I'd be lying if I said that black metal is one of my favourite genres, but from time to time, you come across artists who present themselves very unassumingly, just to surprise you with a hammer of an album. Malnatt from the Italian town of Bologna have been around already for quite some time, and therefore it's not surprising that experienced routine finds its way into their music. Unreadable band name, goat head on the black and white cover artwork and scary corpse paint are one side of the medal, but on the other side you get an unexpected album title and lyrics in a language most people will never have heard of. In fact Malnatt sing in the Bolognese language, which seems closer to Gaelic than Italian. Add an unhidden love for Turbonegro, and you have one of the most interesting black metal albums in a long time.

The songs mostly have normal running times. There is a symphonic side to Malnatt which never becomes cheesy but always stays on the majestic side. The production is very transparent for a black metal band, with saturating guitar chords, atmospheric keyboards, occasional operatic female vocals and sometimes even more rock'n'rollish elements. Yes, this is not original, but the band's not so serious approach is extremely refreshing, and as if they didn't even need to put effort into it, they play some of the most entertaining black metal which seems to come from an age when the genre was still young and innocent, unstained by the hordes of copycats.

Had this album been released a decade earlier, it would have been a milestone. Nowadays it will probably be rather unnoticed, compared to better selling bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth. But Malnatt are those who bring the pioneer spirit back to the genre, combined with a contemporary sound and really impressive song material.

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