MalrunThis is a release I have been eager to hear. Last year I covered “Two Thrones” by this melodic metal five piece from Denmark and it turned out that after the record was finished, the frontman had left the band and had been replaced, making this EP/Mini-Album the official recording debut of the new Vocalist, Nicolas Sonne. Without further ado, let’s see what oblivion is like shall we?

The melodically powerful and steady paced “The Underworld” starts with a pounding rhythm and sorrowful sounding lead melody before it slips into the verse where we get a taste of Sonne’s vocals. Listening to them, much like the previous vocalist, they are delivered rather cleanly, but they have more power behind them. Holding a powerful melody with some great delivery, the vocals provide quite a contrast to the music behind them and the backing growls are powerful as ever. With a massive sounding chorus and a fluid and technical sounding solo, it is certainly heavier in the delivery compared to ‘Two Thrones’.

“Oblivion Awaits” keeps the meaty sound up with a real chugging feel in the verses leading to an interesting groove based feel. The powerful vocal delivery with this pounding groove, switching between harsh and clean really ups the intensity and the chorus may bring the melody, but the vocals get harsher. It does have a slight djent feel to it, but much like Meshuggah, it isn’t the boring type of djent everyone seems to be doing at the moment. It’s definitely a track for the rhythm aficionados out there. “The Wilderness Of Pain” has a pounding and dissonant feel in its intro which works quite well. Melodic and groove laden in the verse with some more melodic vocals which get harsh at the right time to add an extra kick sets up perfectly for a real massive sounding chorus which has that big moment feel to it. It’s definitely more melodic than the last track and the only real break from this is towards the end where the final chorus is heavier and faster paced, leading to a real frantic feeling section to close the song.

“Cold” has a slight progressive metal feel to it with its twisting intro riff which has a polyrhythmic feel and some interesting lead fills punctuating it. The verse keeps this up with some clean and growled vocal call and response sections and the odd feel groove really gets moving. The chorus slows it down, giving it a steadier pace with a heavy rhythmic progression and a simplistic lead which helps augment the cleaner vocals, giving it a great melodic hook and making it a real memorable track which balances the heavier sections with some soaring feel melodic choruses. “Black Rain” begins with a real punchy rhythm coupled up to an atmospheric melodic lead riff which paves the way for the stop-start feel verse laden with twisting fills and cleanly delivered vocals. As expected, the chorus is massive sounding with a great melody both vocally and musically and that is one thing which runs through this release, Malrun know how to make a big sounding chorus which really sticks with you. Unlike the other tracks, this one has a real beauty of a solo – it starts off rather technical and tricky before becoming more melodic and flowing into the subsequent chorus to great effect, giving it an even bigger sound before a real powerful vocal wail ends the track on a high note, literally!

“Breaking The Illusion” closes the release and this one is more like Malrun’s earlier work in how it slants more towards the melodic death metal feel. Strong vocals in the verse, tricky little fills and a big sounding chorus with some melodic lead work and chugging riffs make the main spine of the song, but round the 2:10 point, it all changes. A building-feel lead riff coupled with some great drums and moody vocals go into a heavier vocal section with some powerful screams and roars in that call and response style with the cleaner vocals leads to a heavier chorus which really hits home, leading to a heavy ending with some real harsh vocal roars and beefy sounding riffs to close the release.

Overall, this is a solid release. It’s heavier and more precise compared to the more melodic previous releases, but it manages to keep itself firmly rooted, blending both heaviness and melody with little fuss. It marks a great debut for the new vocalist too, bringing a new edge to the sound and hopefully Malrun keep this new approach up as they press on with a new line up and new ideas. The only real downside was that this was too short. I would have loved to hear a full album like this. Ah well, always the next one!

(7/10 Fraggle)