Malsanctum – Malsanctum (2018) REVIEW

Obsessed with torturous serial killings and any chance to observe cruel homicide Canadian funeral death/doom project Malsanctum offer a tasteful edge-of-the-knife shorn glance between primitive extreme doom metal and the tape-fed world of noise. ‘Malsanctum’ is a growling beast in chains; It’s undying thirst for death and human suffering inspires involuntary howls and shrieks of feedback amidst ritual apropos drumming, further edging along a spiral of seemingly insane depravity. Audio samples play key roles in three extended pieces each narrating further descent into an obsession, a primal and very real urge to victimize. It is disturbing if taken seriously and painful if analyzed compositionally yet the combination creates a brilliant malaise if given the chance.

If the snaking Arabesque groove beneath the reverb of Malsanctum‘s ‘Metamorbid Fetishization’ (2015) demo was a huge point of interest understand that that mystical caverncore-like grandeur steps aside on the band’s debut full-length and makes way for a true audio threat that is exceptionally callous and unforgiving by comparison. Plodding underground reverberations still soak the experience with a cold, buzzingly organic stupor but all riffs resolve into feedback swells as if recreating Eyehategod through funeral doom’s bony, unfeeling fingers. It is a clangor in service to rituals of torturous pain, and all things rest secondary to that hobbling battery of sluggish, wounded percussion. Amidst the plodding, wailing feedback, and obscured death growls lies truly convincing depravity; The mood is palpably sinister and the message is unapologetic.

“The Son” has a moment in it’s middle that seems almost inspired by a ‘glitch’ of the mind, a repeating hammer of drum and riff that is both nauseatingly psychedelic but horribly driven into the skull like an icepick. It resolves naturally into the rest of the track but takes the song into another direction almost like a sociopath picking up a new obsession, a plaything, and needling it slowly to their needs. This cruel toying with rhythm, chaos, and a ruinous mindset defines Malsanctum and by nature creates a polarizing release. Their debut fits no perfect standard, it is largely soundscape and meandering primitive rumination rather than directional guitar music. The value I’ve found is in the mood it creates with the sum of it’s execution, ‘Malsanctum’ creates dissociation and this will either captivate or repel the listener.

As art aimed at harrowing, convincing atmosphere Malsanctum‘s self-titled debut is a moderately valuable experience for those seeking a dark ride through a slow-boiling increase in murderous intentions. If you’re not the type who seeks the most jagged atmospheric trips of underground extreme doom metal, it certainly isn’t an ‘entry level’ release. Daunting as it’s tuneless rawness seems at face value, it delivers its heft with patience. Even if out of context, you must hear the 26+ minute “The Shattered Spirit” as this conclusive half of the album is the ‘release’ of Malsanctum‘s dark self upon the world, a prisoner released from penitentiary after decades of plotting.


Artist Malsanctum
Type Album
Released July 13, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Iron Bonehead Productions’ Bandcamp! Follow Malsanctum on Facebook
Genre Funeral Doom,
Death Doom Metal,
Dark Ambient

Driven by death’s infinity. 3.75/5.0

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