Malignity EP (demo)

Written by: PP on 17/12/2009 21:01:11

Pariah are a local four-piece metal band from the tiny village of Tune, about eight kilometers away from Roskilde, Denmark. They haven't been around for very long, and "Malignity" is actually their first ever demo, so keep that in mind while reading this review. Technically, you could argue that Pariah play thrash metal with progressive tendencies, but as with so many starting bands from Denmark, classifying them as anything else than just metal is a difficult task. I'm guessing that the five tracks on "Malignity" appear in the order of recording, because the quality of songs gradually builds up from the horribly amateurish album opener "The Pollution" to a good track that I believe displays glimpses of a bright future, "Black Room".

But hold on to that thought, lets start with dissecting the first couple of tracks on the record. For a metal album, the tracks are awfully loose and sloppily played, leaving much room for improvement in terms of keeping the soundscape tight and removing some of the excess distortion from the guitars. But this is almost certainly an issue that'll be fixed with better production if the band reach a studio some day, so I won't comment further on that for now. What does bother me severely, however, is the band's sub par (on the first three tracks anyway) vocalist, whose thrash metallist James Hetfield imitation brings to mind another local band I recently reviewed. In all honesty, his thrash metal yell is neither evil nor aggressive enough to fit the music, so a lower growl or a higher pitch scream would surely suit the sound better. He gets much better on "Rusty Cage" (as does the whole band, actually), but I'm one hundred percent convinced that the band would be much better with another vocalist. However, I'm lead to believe he also plays the bass, and that's an area he's VERY capable in, as there were several sections on both "Panda" and "Black Room" where I picked out the bass as the best part in the songs, and that's rare in metal where bass guitar is usually forgotten. Subsequently, if he'd ditch the vocals and someone else from the band would take over - or they could hire a separate vocalist altogether - Pariah would be a much better outfit.

In general, three out of the five tracks on the record suffer from precisely the same problem as those by Haltefanden: they aren't tight enough yet to withstand closer scrutiny. The same applies to "Panda" and "Black Room" as well, but here the listener gains a distinct feeling that the band are nonetheless on the right track. Some of the melody constructs, like the black metallish tremolo shredding in the latter, are very close to being there in the category of awesome songs. And here's actually the thing I've noticed about Pariah: those lengthy instrumental-only build ups in "Panda" or "Black Room" are generally where the band is at their best. Both tracks have brief headbang-inducing moments where I'm inclined to suggest that the band owns lots and lots of promise. The solo in the former, in particular, is beautiful, and made even more so by the distorted contrast of the rhythm guitar in the background.

Keeping in mind that this is a demo, and Pariah shouldn't be written off anytime soon because of that, here's a couple of suggestions to the band: one, change the vocalist and let him focus exclusively on his sleek bass lines. Two, tighten up the instrumentation and improve production for the next release. And finally, experiment with more lengthy and progressive black metal soundscapes in the rehearsal room and see what comes out of those, because I have a feeling that's where they could find their own identity. It'll be exciting to follow these guys and see what they come up with.


Download: Black Room, Panda
For the fans of: Haltefanden, early James Hetfield, Black Label Society
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.05.2009

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