Two Thrones

Written by: TL on 18/12/2014 21:56:16

The effort to fill the most glaring holes in our archives from earlier in the year continues, now with a look at "Two Thrones" by Danish melodic metal/hardrock group Malrun, which was released back in August. The band may have lost a strong asset in former singer Jacob Løbner following the release of this, their third album, but that's no knock on the record itself, as it continues Malrun's tradition for writing devilishly catchy metal tunes, which make you scratch your head as to why exactly the Århus quintet seemingly has remained perenially underappreciated.

For newcomers, Malrun are the antithesis to any sentiments that metal needs to be heavier-than-thou and completely indecipherable, opting instead to create an instantly engaging euro-metal take on the radio metal of the states, with groups like Killswitch Engage, Nothing More, Exit Ten and even the once mega-popular Disturbed coming readily to mind as references for their sound. Hyper-melodic dual-guitar arrangements are omnipresent throughout their work, also here on "Two Thrones", and parts are knitted together seamlessly and tightly via a dynamic, by-the-books rhythm section, ensuring that no momentum is lost at any point. Add Løbner's vocals on top, which have persistently had uniqueness and international class particularly in the band's chorus sections, and the base ingredients are clearly in order.

In opening song "Justine", the band has likely written their catchiest song to date, which says something considering tracks like "Rise From Sorrow" and "Shadowborn" from the previous releases. It highlights the album alongside the central "Bury The Dead For You", which wastes no time jumping out of the speakers with tapped melodeath-style guitar heroics and a galloping chorus hitting before an almost southern-style verse part which marks a new aspect of the group's songwriting. Of further note is "Cycle Of Abuse", which has such a high harmony in the chorus that it sounds almost like something you would find highlighting an album by Deadlock or Within Temptation.

When "Two Thrones" hasn't quite made the world into Malrun's oister, despite the mostly positive criticism already heaped upon it, it's simply because the band's range of expression is and has always been too narrow for a full album's worth of songs. Their lyrics are dramatic to a ridiculous point, and Løbner's vocals are somewhat overproduced in the parts where he either sings verses or screams - I mean what's even the point of screaming if it's made to sound neat in production? Screams need to sound like the listener is being hit by the residue from the singer's throat, otherwise there's no point, end of discussion - Yet Malrun are often good enough playing to their strengths to overcome these details.

The real hurdle is that Malrun's strengths only ever seem to manifest into similar straight-forward songs, and the few exceptions ("Eye Of Horus", "The Ghost Of You") are either not developed well enough or arrive too late to make a difference. You're simply dulled to the otherwise considerable power of their onslaught once the wave comes rolling at you the seventh time. Consequentially, "Two Thrones" is yet another Malrun album offering some ballsy singles and a portion of filler, and regardless of how much change is brought about by the substitution at vocals, Malrun would be wise to include only the best results of their proven formula on the next record, while in the mean time learning to do just as well at songs that lean out of their comfort zone and into more interesting nuances, and then letting those kinds of songs provide some much needed contrast over the rest of such a release.


Download: Justine, Bury The Dead For You, Cycle Of Abuse,
For The Fans Of: Killswitch Engage, Nothing More, Exit Ten, Disturbed

Release date 29.08.2014
ViciSolum Productions

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