MALPHAS – THE 39th SPIRIT

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: https://vianocturna.com/
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://vianocturna.com/malphas-the-39th-spirit-cd-p-1646.html
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/malphasband/

BAND LINE-UP:

Paul DeSanctis – Vocals/Guitars/Symphonics
Damian DiFrancesco – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Eric Dunleavy – Drums

TRACKLISTING:

1. Invoking the 39th Spirit
2. Volcanic Winter
3. Floods (An Act of God)
4. Legions
5. You Will Lead My Armies
6. Red Constellations
7. Visions of the Burning Darkness
8. Spells of Destruction
9. Heavens Fall 1 Condemnation
10. Heavens Fall II The Aftermath 1

REVIEW:

Malphas the blackened melodic death metal trio from Pennsylvania, come at you with their first full length album under the label Via Nocturna. The inspiration for their band name and concept of their album “The 39th Spirit” comes from Satan’s next in command, the demon Malphas, who controls 40 legions and takes the form of a crow to conjurers. The album’s concept is of a man who makes a pact with the demon in his pursuit to destroy religion. With the first track, Invoking the 39th Spirit, you start with an electric symphonic intro that lasts 35 seconds. Rapid blast beats, melodic guitars and death metal vocals follow. The symphonic parts mix into interludes with melodic guitar solos and it’s a well balanced and fast paced song. The second song, Volcanic Winter is only instrumental. It starts with acoustic guitar playing but then progresses into a symphonic piece with a chorus faintly heard singing in the background. I was a little confused as to the placement of the song. It’s something I usually expect to start a record off and open for live performances, however it leads directly into the 3rd track, Floods (An Act of God). I feel like they should be combined into one song. This album makes me think a little of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra. In fact the vocals sound quite similar to Shagrath at times.

I gave their EP, The Conjuring a listen and it’s pretty consistent with their first release in theme and sound. In fact the full length album includes 2 polished versions of the songs from the EP, The Conjuring. Legions and Visions of the Burning Darkness. There are 2 versions of Heavens Fall closing the album which sound like they split elements of the original EP song into 2 separate songs. Red Constellations is a slower pace song opening like a folk song with clean acoustic guitar playing but then progressing into a heavier melodic death metal song, still with a folk rhythm and sound woven throughout. Visions of the Burning Darkness also has a similar sound but has a lengthy opening with synths and it builds up to an acoustic solo that leads to a sudden change to death metal growling, guitars and drums. So overall the album feels like they were completing the concept they set out with their EP and it is well done. Though sometimes some songs felt like they could use more vocals and were heavier on the instrumental side. The album flows along and no one song is very long. I think anyone who enjoys symphonic metal will find this a pleasing album to listen to. For me the heavy hitters of the album are Invoking the 39th Spirit, Floods (An Act of God) and Spells of Destruction. Overall it’s a great balance of brutal metal with symphonic elements flowing throughout. The concept is very appealing to me since I personally find occult themes of demons highly interesting. It’s well done and even when I hoped with such a theme it would sound darker and more brutal I still enjoyed it enough to give a generous 4 out of 5 rating.

 

REVIEW BY CATHRINE WENDT
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