2012 must have been a fun year for Maelstrom, what with the release of their EP The Midnight and opening up for Viking metal behemoths Tyr. The Glaswegian black metal gentleman have been on the scene since ‘04, bringing their unique brand of corporate black metal to the growing masses. Having never heard their previous two releases, The Midnight EP was something new for me.
The EP begins with the typical elements of symphonic black metal: vehement screaming, dingy keyboard symphonies and heavy instrumentation. The clean singing in Eye took me by surprise and slightly spoiled the song for me. Barring the clean singing, t’is a good track.
Midnight comes across as a very death-doom styled track, screeching out droning riffs and guttural growls like a banshee foretelling of one’s impending end. The keyboards match the dreary atmosphere of the song, which further cements its doom metal essence and sound.
Trudging on through the EP, I’m eventually welcomed by the slightly melodic riffs of Miasma, a track that is a welcome change back to the band’s black metal influences, reeking of bands like Emperor. The screams reach out over the riffs like some sort of tainted creature hunting its prey while the music itself proves to be a titantic force. I’ll be honest, it’s my favourite song on the EP.
The final track of the EP, Artica, interests me the most. Its sounds and elements vary almost as much as the tartans of the clans. Starting as a calm period, the song soon becomes a barrage of venomous screams and majestic riffs and droning singing before ending as a raging hurricane of black metal.
There’s a lot lacking from The Mightnight EP – aggression, depth, et cetera. It’s an listenable enough EP but it’s just quite bland and in need of some serious flavour. I hope that the EP sounds more full and exciting at live shows.
The Laird has been a writer for over two years, writing for various blogs and ‘zines under different names. He is also an avid supporter of underground bands. He also hates haggis. You can follow The Laird on Twitter: @TheLairdCFC