Album Review – Malamorte / Devilish Illusions (2016)

May the dark clouds of Black and Heavy Metal by this promising Italian project cast an ominous shadow over mankind.


4_PanelIf we put together the Italian words “mala” and “morte” and translate them to English, the final result would be the simple but macabre expression “bad death”. Based in the historic city of Rome, Italy, Black/Heavy Metal project Malamorte returns from its ominous crypt to ensure our death is as bad as possible, haunting our souls with more of its creepy and theatrical music inspired by the iconic King Diamond and his Mercyful Fate with a Black Metal twist, this time enfolded as a brand new opus entitled Devilish Illusions.

Although this side project by Alessandro “Alex” Nunziati, best known as Lord Vampyr and the mastermind behind several metal acts like Lord Vampyr, Cain, Nailed God, Shadowsreign, Sepolcrum, VII Arcano and Theatres des Vampires, was founded back in 2009, it was only in 2014 that the debut EP The Fall of Babylon was released. However, after the great feedback received from fans and critics, Lord Vampyr (or in the case of Malamorte, only L.V.) decided it was time to provide the world another blast of his dark compositions in 2016, supported by Italian musician SK on guitars, bass and programming.

Heavily inspired by cult horror movies and the freakish atmosphere by Mercyful Fate, the intro Maleficium I will give you the chills before the title-track Devilish Illusions explodes into extreme and obscure music. L.V. sounds like an inhuman entity on vocals, with his guitar riffs blending traditional Heavy Metal with Black Metal (and even Thrash Metal elements can be noticed in this metallic devastation). After that promising start, dissonant guitar lines kick off the hellish composition named Pactum, slower but still vile and dense. It seems like L.V. is eager to drag us to a dark den and use us for a black magic ritual, with the wolves howling (or maybe tortured souls) in the background being truly disorienting, exactly what L.V. wants us to feel inside our minds.

In the powerful Dark Clouds On Golgotha, which by the way has a beautiful name for a song, its guitars and rhythm lean towards old school Heavy Metal from the 80’s, with its keyboards and drums adding a lot of flavor to it. I’m sure L.V. and his electrified performance on vocals, sounding even more demonic than usual, will put you to bang your head nostop, before the short bridge Maleficium II and its creepy piano notes introduce you to the following track, named Possession.  This high-end Extreme Metal tune displays a similar sonority to “Dark Clouds On Golgotha”, which seems to be where this project truly thrives. In addition to that, not only guest musician SK is an excellent multi-instrumentalist who significantly enhances the level of energy in the music, but the raw sounding presented in this case effectively keeps the musicality on the dark side for our total delight.

mal-bandThe title-track Malamorte keeps up with the vileness found in the rest of the album, starting with a wicked intro with some interesting piano notes and background voices that after a while turns into modern extreme music, blending elements of Black, industrial and Symphonic Metal. There are even some distorted piano notes, which together with some boisterous riffs guide this ode to dementia. Now imagine if Motörhead went Black Metal with hints of Thrash Metal? This is the interesting mixture you’ll get in the amazing high-speed tune Devoted To Self-Destruction, a nonstop sonic demolition perfect for live performances exhibiting guitar riffs and solos inspired by icons such as Slayer and Megadeth, but with a Rock N’ Roll vibe.

And there’s still time for another devilish duo of compositions by Malamorte, entitled Lucifer’s Rebellion and Maleficium III. The first takes the musicality back to the band’s more traditional approach, with its blast beats and deranged growls transpiring obscurity, not to mention its straightforward main message (Hail Lucifer!) and its abrupt and demonic ending; while the closing track is an outro where the initial gathering of background noises return one final time to haunt our sinful souls.

The world of Malamorte can be further explored on Facebook and ReverbNation, and Devilish Illusions is available for sale at the Murdher Records’ webstore and at the Satanath Records’ webstore or BandCamp. May the dark clouds of Black and Heavy Metal by Malamorte cast a shadow over all of us, and may we all sense their ominous energy penetrating our souls and disfiguring our minds.

Best moments of the album: Dark Clouds On Golgotha, Possession and Devoted To Self-Destruction.

Worst moments of the album: Pactum.

Released in 2016 Satanath Records

Track listing
1. Maleficium I 2:09
2. Devilish Illusions 3:21
3. Pactum 4:28
4. Dark Clouds On Golgotha 4:36
5. Maleficium II 0:16
6. Possession 5:02
7. Malamorte 6:30
8. Devoted To Self-Destruction 2:58
9. Lucifer’s Rebellion 3:24
10. Maleficium III 5:06

Band members
L.V. – vocals, guitars, keyboards

Guest musician
SK – guitars, bass, programming