Malrun - _Two Thrones_
(ViciSolum Records, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (4 out of 10)
This publication's subtitle mentions that Chronicles of Chaos is an 'extreme music webzine', but Malrun are by no means extreme: they are too nice and cozy to be extreme; one foot is indeed set in metal and the other embedded deeply in the abominable pop culture. Should we review their album? What the hell, a promise is a promise. Now, Malrun's _Two Thrones_ is an example of how -not- to make an extreme metal album. In addition, this album is a living monument to the importance of vocals and how they can either transcend an album or completely ruin it. And here, the band's folly is even greater, because they 'almost' made it, but that particular 'almost' tips the scales in favor of an echoing and total failure -- failure and frustration.

While the music is the strongest factor here, the vocals are a complete sham. The compositions are tight and robust, showing some impressive dynamics; sounds that are teeming with life, colorful, accurate and hard-hitting. A progressive type of heavy metal that owns a strong and inventive drum work, nice guitar leads and sharp-sounding electric rhythm guitars. Even though the compositions aren't the most inventive or the most original, they posses some sort of metallic grandeur and enthusiasm that inflicts the listener with an almost irresistible urge to get up and start head-banging till he/she drops.

Imagine what a good album this would have been had the vocals been on par with the above mentioned. Instead, you get -- and apologies if I get this wrong, because I'm not an expert in that field -- what appears to be one of the mellowest, most inadequate vocal performances out there; something that should have remained in emo / alternative rock's exclusive possession; not something metal music is supposed to tolerate, foster or encourage. "Alternative" rock is metal's nemesis in so many ways, but first and foremost it is plain -bad- music no scene should desire to be associated with.

So imagine this: great metal music governed by vocals that are an antithesis of that -- and not in a good way. Malrun could have been as great as Masterstroke in delivering modern heavy metal that is nothing but pure fun; instead, they provide us with fucking Oasis with a bit larger set of balls (and even that isn't such big of a deal, because Oasis' balls are microscopic). Don't get me wrong, they don't actually -sound- like Oasis, but you get the scope of the disaster. That mellow, whiny voice is so polarizing and so much contrasting this bad-ass heavy metal that Malrun play, this alone kills the music and leaves you frustrated; frustrated, because you know you have just missed a good album -- and you were so damn close (and so were Malrun, for that matter) to be enjoying a modern semi-classic. That's how overpowering the vocals on _Two Thrones_ are; they are literally all over the place, spoiling what could have been just a great piece of music.

The metal riffs are killer -- at least many of them are -- and make you wish they would last forever, even on an all-instrumental basis, but those vocals are everywhere! If Malrun indeed had intended to record a metalcore album of sorts, or even one of those MTV-friendly "metal" albums that girls just love, then so be it. But the hunch, given the tremendous effort invested in creating a display of genuinely excellent heavy metal, is that Malrun just wanted to play it heavy, which they do. But the choice of vocals (even the sporadic screams and growls sound exceptionally misplaced) is simply erroneous, if not disastrous.

Malrun's quite few rays of light are found in the couple of quiet songs, or metal ballads, if you wish. Then and there the vocals become ever softer, but also more natural, without that ridiculous try-hard attitude most of the album's vocal work is tainted and obsessed with. Those emotional moments are intense and quite beautiful, but you really need to pull them out of the stack of bullshit with fine tweezers.

The bottom line is that you shouldn't bother with this album. Go instead for any other fine musical specimen ViciSolum Records has recently released, and there are quite a few of those, _Two Thrones_ being an anomaly of bad taste and bad decisions; a clashing of musical aesthetics that will never, not in a million years, reconcile with one another. This publication


(article published 16/10/2014)

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