Fresh victims for the ever-growing army of the undead!
-- Malfested --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
I got in touch with Malfested via the band’s vocalist who invited me to check out his newly formed band’s freshly released EP. In addition, our friends at Hard Life Promotion offered us a shot at this new slice of Belgian metal madness as well. And since we’ve got Belgian metal in our name, it’s no more than obvious that we get this EP shredded!
“Shallow Graves” is the independent debut release of the Belgian death metal act Malfested. Not much else is known about the band, since the members keep their identities secret (until they’ve got the chance to play live gigs). The only things I can confirm is that Malfested was formed earlier this year, that they originate from Kortrijk and that they all have years of experience playing in other metal bands. Well, who doesn’t like a bit of mystery and after all, we’re here to shred the music, nothing else (for now, that is).
Malfested’s “Shallow Graves” EP begins with its title track and immediately the classic death metal influences become apparent with blast beats, grinding guitars and a mix of grunts and shrieks. A very fun tune and perfect for frantic headbanging! The EP’s next track, “Masked with the Skulls of the Fallen,” showcases the band’s more melodic side with some epic melodies joined by sections that offer pounding thrash beats, smashing breakdowns, dark ambient set pieces and sweet guitar solos.
Up next comes “Fields of Bloodshed,” another slow and atmospheric tune juiced up by hectic intermissions together with another silk and smooth guitar solo. “Venefica (the Banished One)” kicks off as a skin shredding song until it ventures into groovy galloping beats and eventually a short piano section, which allows the EP to venture into its penultimate track, “Incantations,” which has some of the most menacing melodies on the EP along with the usual Malfested traits of energetic death metal beats as well as a longer piano ending. Finally, the EP ends with “Cistern of Souls,” featuring a final barrage of roaring guitars with equally roaring vocals and fast drums. Pure death metal material in all of its blood-soaked glory!
“Shallow Graves” artwork shows an abandoned battle ground scattered with bones and shrouded in thick fog. That’s all for the EP’s artwork, but it’s story, however, is much more interesting!
The main setting of Malfested’s “Shallow Graves” EP is a long and brutal war between mankind and an army of the undead. While this may appear as a pure good vs evil story, it actually isn’t. These undead warriors are in fact soldiers killed in battle whose bodies got stripped naked, then unceremoniously buried in unmarked mass graves. Upset by this lack of respect and dignity for their sacrifices in life, these souls return to their rotten bodies and rise from their graves to cause death and destruction upon the living.
Facing imminent destruction, the king pleads to God to save his kingdom and people and through prayer, he comes to the realization he needs to consult Venefica, a witch who was banished from his kingdom long ago. The king sends a group of his knights to her lair and after she devours one of them through violent sexual intercourse, she eventually accepts their pleas for aid and then she uses for deadly seductive power to slay the demon lord, bringing the undead back to their shallow graves, joined by all the freshly killed people from this battle, most likely causing the vicious cycle to begin once more.
SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
“Masked with the Skulls of the Fallen” is an excellent, multifaceted tune that beautifully shows many of Malfested’s strengths and therefore, it’s a clear favorite of mine. The title track is also very pleasant as it wastes no time to bring in the death metal violence. No long opening samples or instrumentals, the skull crushing beats arrive straight away!
Any weaknesses on Malfested? Well, if death metal isn’t your thing, than this band’s material probably won’t change your opinion since they play by-the-book death metal. But if you dig acts like Deicide, Morbid Angel or Belgian death metal acts like Carnation or Exoto, then you can certainly add Malfested to that list. And therefore, the band gets put into…
8 mass graves out of 10. Malfested’s debut release is a very enjoyable homage to old-school death metal while also having a story that’s deeper and more interesting than the usual gorefests that this subgenre is known for. Overall, this EP features all the flesh and blood needed to give you a deadly good time. Here’s “Masked with the Skulls of the Fallen.”