Malasangre: take a foundation of extreme doom like, say, Khanate, layer thickly with sludge and sprinkle a little black metal and almost inaudible ominous keyboards on top. Let it seethe for half and hour or so and serve. Nigella it ain’t (and is it just me or is Nigella cooking to an extreme doom soundtrack a strangely enticing image? Just me then. Must be my age….)

Actually theres previous little room for levity where Italian monsters Malasangre are concerned: they have a slow, hypnotic and thick, black sound and have shared releases with the likes of Bunkur which should give you a good idea of the intent of this release. Slow, torturous soul crushing inch by inch.

Split neatly in two halves Na Ma and Sa Ta, this 70 minute  subterranean excursion is a tightly controlled but still fluid piece of music. Built around simple, heavy riffs that bludgeon a hypnotic sensibility into you, Malasangre have a tenancy to then inexorably try to tip you off balance either through some almost subliminal use of submerged keyboards that seem to harbour a distinct malevolence towards the sunlit world above, or through the unhinged, sometimes cackling black metal vocals. Without these two aspects Malasangre really would be easily dismissed as a one riff per half hour machine but with them, and with a real compositional use of these shades to the leaden guitar, they really can create a foul and twisted atmosphere.

There is in inescapable sense of the occult (the unknown) in these tar pit grooves that coats you as you sink in to it. Na Ma has occasional wanderings of leadwork and the hint of something like the bastard offspring of melody, Sa Ta has the more twisted vocals and the more determined malevolence to the riff but both, just when you feel yourself nodding off they slways seem to pull something out of the black ro find a fresh bruise on you. Na Ma has a gorgeous, rich passage of deep, slow vocals over single notes that reminds me of Type O Negative’s Suspended In Dusk. Sa Ta those delicious dirty fingernails scraping stone vocals that get close to Khanate while retaining a black metal feel as opposed to Khanate’s psychopathy.

Downsides? Well like all extreme doom you have to be both in the mood and have the time and patience. Nothing here is going to drag new fans into the genre I feel. I also have too accept that some passages of the repetious riffing can be distinctly average and even I do weaken and waver in these places. But the key is that, remarkably, Malasangre always drag me back like a corpse on a meathook.

If Pombagira are your thing, fancy the less err… esoteric side of Esoteric or wish Nortt was more doom then you should find no problem in getting inside this dark place. Getting out is another matter.

(7/10 Gizmo)