Sometimes bands change styles rather dramatically and Malchus falls into that category at least from my perspective. When I last reviewed Malchus, it was late in 2012 and they had a split with another Polish band, Pospolite Ruszenie , the split Caput Mundi/Swiebodnosc. On that split both bands shared one guest vocalist and played essentially folk metal. Even though the entire project was in Polish, the music and songs were great. Malchus definitely were more toward the melodic progressive death metal side of the spectrum of the two bands and on Dom Zly, they have taken the folk metal sounds out and kept the rest.
For those unfamiliar with Malchus and missed my previous review (which I highly recommend checking out, incidentally), the band is now in their tenth year. Hailing from Przeworsk, Poland, the band was started by Radoslaw Solek (guitars, vocals). Over the years, the band’s sound has evolved considerably, especially considering their 2006 Memento Mori demo that was punk rock. Since that time melodic death metal has become the style of music the band has moved on to. Then after recording an ep, the band solidified their lineup in 2009 by adding drummer Marcin Brozbar and recording the album Didymos. Didymos went on to be picked up by Soudmass, which gained them distribution throughout Europe, Japan, and the US. This exposure gained the band new followers and spots on tours with some more established bands including Polish goth metal legends, Closterkeller. Since that time, the band has toured, Caput Mundi was re-released as a split by Nocturnal Mass and some long time band members have left and been replaced.
Since my first exposure to Malchus was the folk metal-influenced Caput Mundi, I was certainly surprised to hear the driving guitars and drums on “Wrog nr. 1”, which start out the album at full speed. The difference is also seen in the vocals compared to Caput Mundi where they had Jan Trębacz of Pospolite Ruszenie handling the majority with his cleaner, at times almost operatic style. Radoslaw Solek’s vocals by contrast are rougher, with a more growling, raspy tone and fit very well with what one would expect given the genre.
“Dom Zly” is likely my favorite song on the album and I’m glad they chose to make a lyric video for this one. The video (below) is also one of my favorite styles, showing the band in the studio recording the song. When you don’t know a band, it’s always great to see them in their element. This particular song showcases the heavy, the melodic, and the unique touches to songwriting within the band. Toward the end, there is a quieter piano interlude that eventually builds in a faster melodic section that on its own wouldn’t seem to fit within the song, but given the arrangement it all makes sense. Lyrically, the song describes how this world and society have turned away from God and the “evil house” is not our home as Christians and the rest of the album focuses on the struggles of living as Christian in the world today. The overall tone and style of the song remind me a lot of Immortal Souls Wintereich, which is one of my all-time favorite albums.
The overall production and mixing of the album is exactly where it should be. Vocals are at the right level, clearly audible but not dominating and the instruments are all clearly heard in the mix, which is great as there are some intricate keyboard and guitar parts throughout the album that add some great texture to the sound. Drums are forceful, loud and powerful, but again blend well within the songs.
There is considerable variety within the arrangements and structures to the songs on the album that keeps the listener interested throughout. Some slower, quieter intros like in “Otwarte Oczy” that build into heavier sections while other songs start out loud and driving from the start. Malchus has managed to find that melodic, driving energy that many bands never seem to fully grasp and incorporate into their songs. Little touches like the fast riffing and keyboard heavy part in “Z. prochu” are also nice touches that break up the overall heaviness to the songs and provide a bit of a breather for the listener. That particular song then goes on to be what could best be described as progressive, melodic death metal, which is likely the best way to describe the band’s overall sound, although unlike many bands with the progressive label, the Malchus songs on Dom Zly are mostly less than five minutes long.
If melodic progressive death metal sounds remotely like something you might like, Dom Zly is an album you will want to check out. The beautiful, the fast, the heavy, the driving, the melodic, it’s all here in Dom Zly and wrapped in a package of strong musicianship and songwriting. Simply, one of the best releases of 2014.[
Written by John Jackson
1. Wrog nr. 1 (Enemy no. 1)
2. Dom Zly (Evil House)
4. Otwarte Oczy (Open Eyes)
5. Z prochu (Ashes)
6. Matka (Journey)
7. Tripudium (Dancing)
8. Ale nas zbaw (Deliver Us)
9. Credo (I believe)
10. Zima (Winter)
Radosław Sołek – Guitar, vocals
Paweł Tumiel – Guitar
Bartosz Tulik – Bass
Tomasz “papirus” Pyzia – Drums
Tomasz Rosół – Keyboards
Record Label: Nasz Sklep, Dec. 2014
Video below ’77’
Video below ‘Dom Zły’ (The Evil House)