Mala In Se-Mala In Se

Mala In Se, Latin for 'evil' or 'wrong itself', are a crushingly dark powerhouse metal band from Ohio who sprinkle their chugging, ten ton hammer heavy riffs with a dash of punk rawness and oddball yelped vocals.

This, their self-titled debut, is a perfectly loud and abrasive introduction to their sound and should grab any fan of High On Fire-esque guitar mangling or Primus-style wackiness by the throat and pull them into their lair without any trouble at all. Macabre titled opener 'Time Lapse Photography of Decomposing Animals' sets proceedings rolling with slabs of boulder-heavy riffage at a pace faster than a pack of rabid wolves and it doesn't let up for the rest of the album save for sudden ominous passages of eerie post-rock, best demonstrated on closer Outro, that give their sound an interesting tension. Disease Auction is a standout and the punkiest track on the album, comprising spiky riffs and bile-dripping gang vocals alongside a lurchingly heavy riff, although this is certainly not an album that focuses on lyrics or vocals, you can truly hear the anger pouring out of the speakers throughout the track's entirety. Elsewhere, Lie On allows a 'Blackwater Park'-era Opeth influence to be heard with its twisting guitars and carefully paced drums bringing in elements of a black metal-tinged prog and Portions for Trade comes forward as the stand-out track with its bendy guitar line bringing in a sudden but very welcome sense of melody.

This is a rarity however and the album often ventures into the realms of noise-rock being evidently designed to crush as opposed to resonate with its audience. In a way this is where criticism arises in that, at times, it can become almost heavy for the sake of being heavy and thus meanders slightly, equally the band's sound is occasionally similar to Norway's Kvelertak, another up and coming band, who perform such a sound with much more skill, diversity and accessibility. That considered though, this is still nasty and unrelenting stuff and shows potential to solidly join the ranks of the sludgier powerhouse side to metal in time to come.