It’s been said by some (others) that we don’t review enough death metal here at AMG. This is because you’re all a bunch of wackadoodle metal divas and Steel Druhm is tired of your whining, bitching and crying! Just so we’re clear, you’ll get what we decide to give you and you’ll like it. Now shut your filthy pie-holes and I’ll review some goddamned death metal! Yep, it’s more old school Swedish death. Malfeitor has been around the block a few times. They were there during the original 90s wave of Swedish death that birthed the likes of Entombed, Dismember and Grave. For whatever reason, they were never able to take that big step and get an album released and eventually disbanded. Benny Moberg and Mattias Parkkila later joined Blood Mortized and Parkkila did the vocals on their well-received Bestial EP. After that, Moberg and Parkkila left to resurrect Malefeitor, and here in 2012, we get their LONG awaited debut. Dum Morior Orior is a ridiculously heavy, testicle rupturing, old school Swedish death album, taking the basic Dismember/Entombed sound and mixing it with huge helpings of Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel. It’s way heavier than the stuff fellow Swede-death veterans Entrails or Interment came up with, and at times, it’s suffocating in its manic intensity. While it isn’t the best of the retro death craze, it’s a solid dose of brooootality, as only old timey vets could deliver. Did I mention it’s really fucking heavy?
There’s some interesting stuff here and when they nail it, it’s nailed hard. “Conversation in Minor” has the sound of Dismember‘s beloved “Override the Overture,” and it’s like a four-minute explosion of rage and hostility. It jerks back and forth between blasting speed and sludgy grind, and at no point does it let go of your jejunum. It’s jagged, relentless and nasty, so naturally, it’s a success. “Beyond the Horrorizon” (so punny) has some tasty, slithering riffs and a fun chorus of “DIE FUCKING DIE, FUCKING DIE, FUCKING DIE!” (this is death metal after all). Tracks like “When Last Breath Fades” and “Exiled From Sanity” benefit from razor-sharp riffing, completely unhinged drumming and a noticeable Hate Eternal/Erik Rutan influence. Others like “Death, the Dead and Me” and “Rolling With Corpses” adopt a more traditional Entombed-style attack.
Benny Moberg’s guitar-work is savage, raw and discordant. He throws a lot of riffs at you and some stick, some don’t. He has that classic Sunlight Studios guitar-tone and wields it mercilessly. Likewise, Mattias Parkkila tears it up on the mic. He has a huge death roar and sounds plenty monstrous. He helped make Blood Mortized‘s Bestial EP work, and now he’s doing the same for Malfeitor. For me, the big surprise is the drumming of Janne Rudberg Bjorkenfjall. The guy is a one man apocalypse and at times, he creates such a ruckus, it almost makes you laugh. What makes his style interesting, is how little he depends on the double-bass to power the songs. He does a ton of rolls, fills and interesting patterns. He brings the noise, that’s for shit sure.
The problem that rears its head across Dum Morior is the way the songs flow. On more than a few tracks, the transitions are weak (or don’t exist at all) and this makes the songs feel like disjointed segments fused together. Here’s a blast part, here’s a grind part, etc. etc. Though it seems a small matter, it hurts the album and keeps some of the songs from feeling like actual songs. Also working against the material at times, is a sense of being overwhelmed by the wall of noise and over-the-top sonic chaos. With so many riffs hurtling by, it’s as if you kicked a moldering corpse and the flies buzz off in all directions. It’s tough to focus on any specific fly. You haven’t kicked a corpse lately? Nevermind, it must be a New York thing. Another (related) issue is the memorability factor. Some of these ditties just don’t stick, despite numerous listens. I like a riff here and there and I admire the vocals on most tracks, but some are just forgettable.
Though I sound like I’m beating this album up, it’s actually a worthwhile death metal opus. It’s certainly heavy and has that old school charm merged with the hyper-kinetic intensity of today’s death. I would take Entrails or Vallenfyre over these guys, but this is worth a looksee. Are you happy now? You got your freakin death metal review! The third this week, no less! Oh wait, was that too much death metal?