Album Review – Malefic By Design / Definitive Indication of Supremacy (2018)

Behold a band of underground veterans from Finland and their deadly debut full-length strike, a pulverizing opus that will summon you to a claustrophobic journey through blazing Armageddon.

Founded in 2015 in the city of Turku, Finland by underground metal veterans Mika Ikonen on vocals, Ville Pekkala, Sasu Haapanen and Miska Lehtivuori on the guitars and Antti Hakkala on drums (and if you haven’t noticed yet, there’s no bass player in their current lineup), who by the way have already released several previous efforts through multiple bands such as Searing Meadow, Ablaze In Hatred, Fall of the Leafe, Mormânt De Snagov and Devastracktor, Blackened Death Metal beast Malefic By Design has just released their deadly debut full-length strike, titled Definitive Indication of Supremacy, a pulverizing collection of catchy choruses and incendiary melodies that will certainly please all fans of modern extreme music.

Recorded in quiet solitude and far away from the public eye, Definitive Indication of Supremacy thoroughly blends the band’s Death Metal core essence with nuances from other styles such as Black and Doom Metal, summoning you to a sinister and claustrophobic journey through blazing Armageddon surrounded by a somber and devilish atmosphere.  The dark and primeval cover art is a good indication of what you’re going to face as soon as you hit play and start listening to the 12 Stygian tracks from Definitive Indication of Supremacy, showing Malefic By Design are among us to spread evil, hate and blasphemy. What else can you ask for in first-class Blackened Death Metal, right?

 The atmospheric and eerie intro Descending Sirens Of Evil opens the gates of the underworld to the demolishing Sickness Of Christ, a heavy and obscure Blackened Death Metal hymn with Mika delivering disturbing, deep growls while Antti dictates the rhythm with his precise beats. Then it’s time for almost seven minutes of pulverizing sounds and tones in Impending Doom, bringing together the most demonic elements of Black and Death Metal, with the band’s guitarists blasting a “melodic hell” with their strings; and the band goes full Black Metal in the visceral and brutal Enslaved By Birth, where Mika sounds more demented than before while Ville, Sasu and Miska bring forth another feast of satanic riffs and solos, resulting in one of the most complete (and therefore best) moments of the album.

Leaning towards traditional Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal, the band fires harmonious and visceral lines in the mid-tempo composition titled Repress The Oblivious, being beyond perfect for headbanging like a true disciple of darkness, whereas in Frozen Phantoms an ominous acoustic intro morphs into another explosion of blackened music by Malefic By Design, with the whole band being in some sort of demonic sync led by the boisterous drums by Antti, with Mika’s growls getting deeper and deeper as the music progresses. And Salvation For Everyone showcases hints of Symphonic Black Metal before reaching a frantic and heavy pace spearheaded by the once again furious drums by Antti, all embraced by a sinister background full of uncanny keyboard notes and sheer heaviness.

Medieval Beliefs is an old school Black and Death Metal creation tailored for succumbing to the dark side and snapping your neck headbanging, with the band’s stringed trio firing more of their diabolical riffs, creating an instant connection with the also very melodic Counterstrike Despise, also closer to more modern Melodic Death Metal while maintaining a vile aura in the background. Furthermore, Mika and his sick gnarls make a good balance with the delicate but fierce riffs by Ville, Sasu and Miska, which is also the case in Regenerated Reflections, an eerie fusion of contemporary Death Metal with traditional waltz (if that makes sense to you), also presenting elements from Doom and Dark Metal, and that amalgamation of styles results in a bold and thrilling chant with highlights to its beyond eccentric and obscure vocal lines. Then an enfolding atmosphere builds the stage for the heavy, mid-tempo Black Metal tune At The Gates, which despite being a good song it’s below the rest of the album in terms of electricity, falling flat after a while, fading into the acoustic outro Satanic Harmony, an interesting way to “depressurize” from all the madness blasted during the entire album.

In summary, Definitive Indication of Supremacy, which is available for a full listen on Spotify and for purchase through several channels such as the More Hate Productions’ BandCamp, Keltainen Jäänsärkijä, Record Shop X, iTunes, Amazon and Discogs, not only brings top-tier Blackened Death Metal to your avid ears from start to finish, but it also positions Malefic By Design as one of the strongest new names in contemporary Scandinavian extreme music. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how impactful their debut album will be on Finnish territory as well as worldwide, and when we’ll be able to savor more of the band’s pugnacious malignancy in the form of a new album.

Best moments of the album: Enslaved By Birth, Salvation For Everyone and Regenerated Reflections.

Worst moments of the album: At The Gates.

Released in 2018 More Hate Productions

Track listing
1. Descending Sirens Of Evil (Instrumental) 1:58
2. Sickness Of Christ 3:46
3. Impending Doom 6:39
4. Enslaved By Birth 3:11
5. Repress The Oblivious 4:17
6. Frozen Phantoms 3:58
7. Salvation For Everyone 4:23
8. Medieval Beliefs 4:00
9. Counterstrike Despise 4:23
10. Regenerated Reflections 6:11
11. At The Gates 6:41
12. Satanic Harmony (Instrumental) 1:44

Band members
Mika Ikonen – vocals
Ville Pekkala – guitars
Sasu Haapanen – guitars, vocals
Miska Lehtivuori – guitars, vocals
Antti Hakkala – drums

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Album Review – Autere / Amal’l (2014)

Melodic and professional metal music directly from Finland to inspire you for some good headbanging and mosh pits.

Rating5

Autere_-_Amall_coverAfter 12 years of existence, including a few demos, one EP, some significant lineup changes and about 100 live performances, Finnish Melodic Death/Groove Metal band Autere is finally releasing their first full-length album, entitled Amal’l, a very modern metal album that was definitely worth the entire wait, especially if you are a fan of the heavy riffs and huge doses of melody and energy found in Melodic Death Metal.

As you will notice while listening to this album, this five-piece metal band from Turku, Finland already has some considerable experience in the world of heavy music, with each member being part of other bands such as Trespassenger, Damnesty, Black Sleep and Jacks Over Kings. Add to this strong music background a very professional production and you’ll see why Amal’l sounds so solid compared to the debut albums from many other metal bands.

With vocals à la Pantera (“BUUURRRN!”), the headbanging tune Burn opens the album as the band’s “business card”, being so heavy even its melodic but not too mellow clean vocals keep up with the song’s ferocity, while in the more rhythmic and intense Circle Of Kinetic Damage, with its technical riffs and strong chorus, the influence by Arch Enemy and other Swedish Melodic Death Metal bands is noticeable. Besides, songs like this one show us why the band has been playing live concerts together for so long, as it has a great level of energy to entertain most types of metalheads.

autere_promo1The more modern Redeemers gets closer to American Metalcore, with its harsh and clean vocals making an interesting combination full of harmony, while Lines visibly focuses on its riffs as the base of the entire song, with its harsh vocals and nice guitar solo at the end intensifying the overall result. In the following track, Horizon, Autere get back to a Pantera-ish sonority, with highlights to its breaks and melody and to drummer Tatu Turunen for being so precise with his drum set.

Carbon showcases a faster and more violent side of the band, sounding even more “Americanized” but without losing that harmonious European punch, with its chorus being really catchy and entertaining, while in Bloodlands the band’s headbanging machine keeps working at full power, with guitarists Joona Alamäki and Petri Huhtala kicking ass with their riffs. And there are still two more songs to go: Veils Of Faith keeps the momentum going with its nice flow accompanied by the vocal lines by Anssi Rissa, ending in a very strong way; and Allies, slower than all other songs and with a heavy focus on its main riff, gets a little tiring after two minutes, albeit not being a boring song at all.

In summary, Amal’l, which can be purchased at the online Inverse Store, is a straightforward album directly from the land of ice and snow that will satisfy your craving for melodic metal music, and will surely inspire you for some good headbanging and mosh pits.

Best moments of the album: Circle Of Kinetic Damage, Horizon and Carbon.

Worst moments of the album: Lines and Allies.

Released in 2014 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Burn 3:26
2. Circle Of Kinetic Damage 4:15
3. Redeemers 3:41
4. Lines 3:44
5. Horizon 4:20
6. Carbon 3:43
7. Bloodlands 3:24
8. Veils Of Faith 3:03
9. Allies 4:18

Band members
Anssi Rissa – vocals
Joona Alamäki – guitars
Petri Huhtala – guitars
Markus Virtanen – bass
Tatu Turunen – drums