The Underground Sounds of America: Malleus
Boston, Massachusetts, may be known for hardcore and Irish punk more than anything else, but Malleus are here to put the city on the black metal map. With only two EPs – last year’s Storm Of Witchcraft and last month’s Night Raids – the New England quartet has set ears across the underground ablaze with a brand of merciless witching metal that satisfies both the cult warriors love of raw darkness and the party hesher’s love of music you can punch the air to. Both records contain all the cutthroat aggression, sizzling production, and pure gooey deliciousness that burned first-wave black metal acts like Bathory and Celtic Frost into the collective headbanger psyche – though, as the band is quick to note, they’re not just here to tread the same ground as their forebearers.
While every aspect of Malleus’ sound rules, from the gore-shriek vocals to the rattling old-school drums, especially praise-worthy are the Hammer’s riffs, which are both razor sharp and awesomely infectious. For many of their extreme metal peers, this kind of catchiness might seem a compromise in the face of pure extremity. But Malleus feel the exact opposite – they want to write riffs so good, you’ll get hooked on them.
“The best riffs are the ones that take over your mind and never leave,” says guitarist The Hammer. “If you finish listening to a record and there isn’t a song that sparks some sort of thought or emotion, then how evil or powerful was that record to begin with? Too many bands today rely on gimmicks to engage their listeners and conjure atmosphere but Malleus will always be driven by biting riffs that will leave people wanting more.”
Itching for another fix of blistering riffs and unholy barbarian anthems, we reached out to Malleus to find out just what makes something this evil sound this good.
1) If you had to play a new listener one song to introduce them to Malleus, what would it be, and why?
I’d have to say Night Raids off our new EP would be the track. Metal should be chaotic and unhinged, and Night Raids is just that, a relentless onslaught that sounds like it’s going to fall off the rails at any moment. Lyrically, it also deals with concepts surrounding man’s fear of the unknown, the occult, and other themes that are present in the majority of our songs.
2) List your five greatest musical influences.
4. Broken Bones
3) Who would be on Malleus’ dream tour?
Replace Exodus with Malleus on The Ultimate Revenge tour in 1985. Paul Baloff stays on as roadie/enforcer.
4) Outside of music, what hobby are you most passionate about?
Music is the ultimate driving force that keeps us going. This is true for every member of the band. We each have other interests in our personal lives, but music is 100 per cent our top priority. Everything else is a distraction that could get in the way of making the band the best it can be.
Boston isn’t known as a huge black metal town – how does being from Boston inform Malleus’ music?
The history of New England is a major theme that appears in our lyrics, particularly the religious fear and paranoia of the region’s early European inhabitants. Beyond that, several members of the band grew up together in the Lowell, Massachusetts, area, which infused us with an even filthier hard-edged and straight-ahead approach toward writing music. I think that sets us apart from other Boston bands somewhat. No bullshit, and no fucking compromise.
Malleus’ Night Raids is out now on Atomic Force Records. Purchase it here.
Words: Chris Krovatin
Check out our round-up of stateside black thrash bands with killer new takes on heavy metal’s original extreme subgenre.
Grunge icons Nirvana have inspired countless artists over the years, but here are 11 musicians and bands who fully embraced the gospel of Seattle and flannel…