Malfeitor: Dum Morior Orior

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Malfeitor: Dum Morior Orior
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Malfeitor: Dum Morior Orior
Death Metal
Hellthrasher Productions
April 30th, 2012
Release length: 41:01
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Sweden’s Malfeitor is a group that many haven’t heard, but natives of the Stockholm, Sweden area of the early to mid-nineties may very well have. This Death Metal band formed back in 1990, but not too long after called it a day. Eventually the members went off into other groups, such as Blood Mortized, Birch Mountain, even Exhumed. Recently, this group reformed, and the three piece finally issued a proper demo in 2011 named To Hell, Farewell, followed by the Split EP Dawn of Silent Decay with their main project, Birch Mountain. It’s been well over twelve years since they came together, but Malfeitor have finally issued their long overdue debut full-length effort, Dum Morior Orior through Hellthrasher Productions. But, is this old-school Swedish assault that fans of the style have been waiting for but don’t know it yet?

Dim Morior Orior definitely doesn’t show a lot of rust to the band. There’s no evidence that any of these songs were penned back in the early nineties, or are new compositions entirely, but either way it’s clear that Malfeitor hasn’t lost their edge, and the audio quality helps to back that up. The album has a very blunt and heavy sound to it, keeping enough noise to hold the digital studio output at bay, adding just enough of a blunt edge to hammer away at the listener’s skull for well over forty minutes. The guitars carry that slightly sharper distortion one would expect from a Swedish group, which is mixed in with the very deep, and very loud bass guitar to throw much of the music into a desolate and hopeless atmosphere of bludgeoning ruthlessness, especially in some of the chaotic blastbeat passages. For the most part, it carries an early Death Metal groove that is enhanced by the enthusiastic and powerful guttural vocals that emenate over everything with primal fury. The drumming stands out well too with cymbals that are crisp and pulled to the forefront at certain spots of the kit, while the snares pound away with a tighter, thicker presence against the strong click of the bass kicks that do end up drowned out somewhat by the rest of the kit, as well as the growling.

While the audio levels can seem a bit too much at times, it all works well to give an unforgiving sound that grabs the listener by the throat. Atmospheric and ambient passages, such as at the conclusion of “Sjourn Hell,” and especially “Death, The Dead and Me” really help to establish a hopeless vibe, and work out as excellent transitions from one track to another, such as this one’s merging into the ruthless “Rolling With Corpses.” It’s a shame these ideas are kept rather minimal, but overall it suits the horror-esque approach the group is going for without overdoing it and ruining the environment, as well as influence from the levels themselves, tracks like this can benefit from. Here you’ll find the louder bass works well with the tone that is desired. There are some chaotic sections with blast beats and even eccentric guitar leads over some moderate silence, making for some interesting bridging and solos, but the main groove of this track is simply infectious, and with the layered vocals that are also met with crisper, understandable cries and some background wails added for effect, it’s one of the most memorable and energetic offerings to bang your head along to, if not run to the nearest living thing and outright kill it in the newly formed pit that feeds off the non-stop adrenaline already established. Of course, this isn’t strictly limited to those two tracks, and the segways keep a fluid pace throughout in more of a conceptual manner, such as with “And the Sky Turned to Rage,” another enjoyable track full of brutality and aggression, but a bit hollow thanks to simpler chords clearly aimed at weaving an unsetteling tone to the music that works, but not as well as the band would hope.

Unfortunately, that sort of atmosphere isn’t really established right away. “Conversation in Minor” is still a solid offering even though it is far from anything that stands out in a positive light. Aside some really creepy chords in the bridges, you wouldn’t expect this release to become as horrific and underworldly as it does later on. The catchy, mildly aggressive track has a strong groove with varied paces erupting throughout, ranged from slow and dismal to furious and high speed. In fact, it’s enough to make you not want to move forward, but doing so becomes a great delight. The further in you get, the more ruthless it becomes. Gradually the songs will start to stick out, such as the tighter and more intense “When Last Breath Fades,” which comes off the more conceptually linked “Beyond the Horrorizon” to pound away with thick blast beats filled with catchy grooves, but without the more erratic paces that later tracks will have. This acts more as the edge of sanity and desperation with haunting chords and some unforgiving deeper tones catching you off guard at the start of “Exile from Sanity,” officially crossing you over the threshold but still sounding grounded with plenty of mid-paced riffs relying on groove-fueled pounding on the snares and deeper chords from the bass and guitars. The tempo does start to shift up a little more here, and does unfold into a rather unique offering compared to the generic rocky start it had.

While Dum Morior Orior definitely kicks things off on the wrong foot, it gradually becomes a very interesting and engaging Death Metal assault the deeper into it you get. As if through the eyes of someone slowly losing their grip on reality, this clearly conceptually driven offering really throws you into the twisted underground worlds through the graveyard tombs and catacombs, holding a ripe horror film stance to the lyrics, and even the environment the music and production manages to give off. It’s great to finally have a full-length Malfeitor album, and it clearly shows a group that has stood the test of time despite branching off into other projects, alone or together. But, if you crave the late-eighties, early nineties sound and atmosphere of Death Metal, then there’s no reason to skip past these clearly proud individuals (as judged by the many “Swedish Death Metal” style texts found throughout the artwork). If you haven’t had the chance to make yourself familiar with them, then now is the time to give Dum Morior Orior a spin, or at the very least add it pretty high to the list of albums you should hear next, as this is clearly the start of a powerful Metal onslaught from this three-piece.

01. Conversation in Minor – 4:34
02. Beyond the Horrorizon – 3:31
03. When Last Breath Fades – 3:14
04. Exile from Sanity – 4:01
05. To Hell, Farewell – 3:34
06. Death, The Dead and Me – 3:54
07. Rolling with Corpses – 3:06
08. And the Sky Turned to Rage – 3:54
09. Psychosis – 3:26
10. Scenes from a Slaughterhouse – 3:49
11. Sojourn Hell – 5:05
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Malfeitor (band)
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Physical review copy of this release provided by Hellthrasher Productions.