Malform – Khaos

Malform is a black metal, industrial metal, and experimental project founded in 2007 by M.D Roche. While history behind the project is limited their Bandcamp page shows some of their releases and a prior project. Malform’s earliest release is titled “Sinagogue: 2001 – 2003”, which is a collection of thirteen instrumental electronic demos that were made under the project’s Sinagogue moniker. While those recordings took place long ago, there is a jump in time to 2014 when their album “Psychosis” landed. Just three months later, Malform put out “Extermination Process”, in which all tracks were recorded between 2010 and 2011 and remastered by Gyps Fulvus. Before taking a bit of a hiatus, Malform went on to release their album “Ominous” in January of 2015. Following the single ‘Limerence’ featuring vocalist David Sinclair-Smith in 2020, Malform returned in 2022 with their new album “Khaos”. 

The album kicks off with ‘Sanctuary’, which has an interesting start. A sample from a movie plays out where some whispers, “Oh my…Lord,” following another stating, “There was a black mass here. This is a Satanic sanctuary.” After that I am thrust into a collage of lo-fi, black metal inspired music. While the BPM is cranked up, I do find the overall mix to be rather boring and repetitious even though it has a short run of two-minutes and twenty-three seconds. ‘Bring Me Hell’ has a stereotypical, jump-scare set-up sound before cranking into further black metal inspired guitar crunches. These black metal segments are split between a spout of drum’n’bass that is rather standard for the genre. 

Malform has a cover of The Smiths ‘Pretty Girls Make Graves’ titled ‘Pretty Graves’. It’s an electro-acoustic cover featuring acoustic guitar, ambiance, and whispered lyrics. While this remains rather attractive for a minute or two, the nature of the cover becomes rather dull rather quickly thanks to, again, repetitious song structure. ‘Unbanished’ doesn’t necessarily have a bad flow to it (thrash metal comes to mind as I listen to this track), but the quality of the song has me write it off as nothing more than a demo. As far as quality goes, much the same can be said for the following two tracks ‘Contami-Nation’ and ‘Recalcitrant’. Again, not terribly written, but the quality of the songs just isn’t up to par. The final song on the album is an ambient piece with some field-recording like sounds interspersed. This is by far my favorite track on the album; it’s peaceful, at points gorgeous (especially when the piano finally trickles in), but it could use a bit more variation. 

Malform’s “Khaos” does not come off as a product that has been completely mixed, mastered, or polished. Many of the songs on the EP are low quality; whether or not this is done intentionally to fit within black metal influences is meaningless. There are plenty of lo-fi projects in music who are able to give out a raw feeling with immense production. This is not one of those albums. The repetition in a lot of the songs isn’t helping anything either. If Malform can find a way to take all their genre influences and mold them into a finished, sparkling music production then that would be swell. But, as it stands, “Khaos” just doesn’t do anything for me. Four out of ten. 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.

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