Deliquescent Exaltation reviews

93%
trieffiewiles on June 23rd, 2016

Reverie of Torment in Throat-Singing Form

Attila Csihar is one of those that the few who are either enlightened or deranged enough to be knowledgeable of him, however one looks at it, either seem to despise his voice and what he does with it or be enthralled by it. I definitely meet the latter description in that regard. While he’s appeared in some rather nice Mayhem and Sunn0))) albums, I’ve noticed some troubling behavior on his part as of late, in terms of what projects he has agreed to take part in and whom he’s agreed to work with. I’ve not actually listened to what I am speaking of and I’ll not name names, as this is merely a thematically-sound introduction to someone else entirely, and not a roasting session. This being said, for anyone else out there who misses the grim, esoteric, apocalyptic, and mystical Attila of times before when the hipsters got a hold of him, then Malepeste may well be an intriguing discovery for anyone willing to study further.

As far as the music itself is concerned, one way I could describe it would be, for those who’ve been trudging underground for a while, like a cross between the slower examples amongst Deathspell Omega’s Mikko-era repertoire (Mass Grave Aesthetics, Diabolus Absconditus) and early Opera IX, when they still had Cadavaria, yet with a more depressive vibe and with someone akin to Attila as a vocalist of course. Also, for those who enjoyed Jumalhamara’s more metallic albums like Resignaatio, there is also a resemblance herein. Particularly the delirious and deranged yet devotional nature of the vocals, and how they and the lesser background voices oft merge in forbidding harmonies. Both share this subtle, hard-to-capture quality in spades.

The strings themselves are an insidious continuum of methodical repetitions that, though not particularly distinctive in style, is very compelling and well-suited to the music. With the percussion there is a lot of subtler technique with the cymbals and tribal overtones that would be all-too-easy for an irredeemable mind addicted to popular tripe to not take note of at all. Yet this is not deliberate obscurity, for the voices are, to my mind at least, obviously the focal point of this music.

Again I’ll opt for an Attila reference on account of how few vocalists take this approach. In his work for Mayhem, he sounded like an insane and caustic demoniacal presence, whereas in his appearances with Sunn0))), he had the air of a wizened mystic who could see many things, harmful and beneficial alike, very ambiguous. The vocalist for Malepeste could be described as lurking somewhere in between, probably more toward the latter.

Though the Himalayas are still a very mysterious and sparsely populated place, it was practically unknown to outsiders before the early-to-mid 20th century. Before then, there were all manner of rumors of left-handed sects that, while appearing outwardly similar to their fellow highlanders, engaged in practices strange and often taboo-violating to their peers. With his erratic, throat-singing inspired style, Malepeste’s vocalist basically sounds like the earthly incarnation of the tentative outsiders’ paranoias when venturing upon the roof of the world for the first time.

While everything of theirs I’ve heard is worth multiple listens in my opinion, this album is an ideal place to start, for those intrigued.

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