Dark Essence 2007
Malsain has delivered their second album with the aptly titled The Disease as with each listen it furthers its own insidious infection. This band came out of nowhere for me. Having no expectations at all for this album I was pleasantly surprised to hear a black metal band with strong similarities to Enslaved from various stages of their existence. It reminds me a lot of Enslaved on their Frost album though with some of the more experimental and brooding elements found on Beneath the Lights. An Old Asylum perfectly illustrates this sort of vision for me as it has some of the quirky melodies within its main riffs which are contrasted against a more straightforward black metal backdrop. Most of the songs on The Disease follow a similar template with atmospheric black metal with a hint of mind expanding experimentalism thrown in with delicate care and talent towards interesting songcraft. These artists know how to work keyboards, clean guitars and other interesting twists into the framework of their songs without suffering from the feeling of overusage or experimentation for Experimentation's sake. There is a definite feeling of epic storytelling that permeates this album and it conjures images of mist shrouded forests swallowed in gloom. Malsain 's song titles imply a sense of modernism to them such as Mechanical Rain, Cement Forest, and An Old Asylum yet to me their sound is completely organic and has little to do with the world of urbanization. Skumring's vocals are the perfect sound for me in regards to black metal as they are a little deeper than the typical vocalist and it sounds as if he has his throat filled with gravel. The Disease is a solid album but I feel a little more effort could be made to separate themselves from the shadow of Enslaved. However Malsain have crafted an album that maintains my interest from start to finish and they have formed a strong foundation from which to venture forth from on further episodes of exploration.