An Oddly Soothing Thunderstorm

May 23, 2015


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Listen to Tod Huetet Uebel

To call Tod Huetet Uebel black metal would be misleading. Hailing from Lisban, Portugal, this duo plays a particularly aggressive brand of post-black. While the almost constant, hammering blastbeats and shrieks are familiar to the former genre, the inclusion of death metal vocals and post-metal guitar work stop it short of riding alongside acts like Mayhem or Darkthrone. That having been said, don't expect to hear Drudkh or Ghost Bath either. These guys are animals.

For the most part, Malicia is a no holds barred marathon. The drums absolutely shine in their relentless calisthenics. I am someone who is not fond of the endless blastbeat, but Tod Huetet Uebel manage to berate you with them just long enough before switching to an equally enthralling double bass, new cymbal pattern, or machine-gun tom fill.

When paired with the absolutely hellish vocals and ringing, wall-of-sound guitars; Malicia has an absolutely suffocating atmosphere. I mined my varied musical tastes to most aptly describe these vocals, but the best comparison I could come up with was the intro track to Slipknot's Iowa. Voices will drag out and overlap in howls, croaks, and hoarse screams that can be quite chilling. Guitars favor rapidly strummed, depressive minor key chords along with the occasional picked hook not unlike a more post-metal version of Immortal's At the Heart of Winter.

Yet for all of its intensity, Malicia is not something I really bang my head to. The onslaught paradoxically permeates a strange, soothing quality. It reminds me of the comfort I find in listening to a particularly heavy thunderstorm through the bedroom window. There are also a few breaks in the action that further showcase the album's more calming attributes. The opening guitar line and other moments like on “I” feature some cleaner, traditional post metal leads, while “XII” features an interlude that brought strong comparisons to Tool's “Schism.”

Final verdict: instant buy. I was already eying the price tag on this one after the first track. Luckily for everyone, the added bonus was that this is a pay-what-you-want on bandcamp. Who could say no to that? Between the malice-filled vocals and the ineffable drumming, Malica lept into the top 10 albums I have heard from this year so far (and that number is pretty high already). Check it out today and support yet another solid up-and-comer.