Review by Felix on August 22, 2021.
My health was in serious danger. I did not know that. But the promo for Hypocrisis Absolution talks about a "shockingly developed debut demo" by Malignament, a two-man combo from, of course, Finland. I bought this demo as a 12" and indeed it sounded excellent and amazingly mature. But I didn't feel anything from a shock. Guess it’s good to belong to the jaded ones.
Hypocrisis Absolution, to put my only criticism at the beginning, shows that creativity is very developed in terms of quality, but not with regard to quantity. Two songs of the demo (the 12” offered three tracks) reappear on the first full-length of the band. Thus, we get only 32 minutes new music. But okay, the other side of the coin is that each and every track shines in full glory. Thousands of bands from the thousand lakes play comparable music, but Malignament have something that separates them from most of their compatriots. In my opinion, it’s their outstanding songwriting which is filled to the brim with triumphant yet somber melodies. They do not do anything that lends them a unique selling point, but the stirring melodies invite you to let your thoughts wander freely. And so you see winter landscapes, frozen seas, black rock massifs, a gray sky and a dark horizon. It is an overwhelming and at the same time gloomy panorama that Malignament create.
I have been talking about the melodies, but do not think they are the only thing that put their stamp on the music. They are combined with a thunderous basis which delivers one of the most solid black metal platforms ever. Tons heavy, thereby always created by sinister thoughts and equipped with enormous density, that's how the tracks roar out of the boxes. And when the black basis meets with the previously described melodies at breakneck speed, a wave is created which tears down everything, but really everything, that stands in its way. (As a German, I'm quite familiar with high water at the moment...) Thus, a raging, furious and poisonous flood is created in 'Like Rats They Followed' (for those who want to know it exactly: from 2:37 minutes on), which, as one who thinks he's already heard everything, puts me in a state of joyful ecstasy. And this is just one example, I could mention many others.
You're saying I should do this? All right, I'll focus on the center of the album. 'Storm And Chaos Within' is the name of the next song and it shows that you can create an outstanding atmosphere beyond the lame ambient drone of some whiners - without giving up even 0.1% vehemence. Now you think it can't get any better. But these grumpy Finns can only laugh about such a thought - and that, although they probably never laugh otherwise. Then they serve 'Unforgiving North'. A monument. A gigantic work, which can be understood as an homage to the entire Scandinavian song material in the second black wave. Depressing guitars, a voice that spits fire into the cold, rapid as well as slower sections and again this fascinatingly dense intensity. I wish I had at least contributed the name to this piece, because you won't find a more fitting one than 'Unforgiving North' for it.
Of course, great music requires great production and fortunately Hypocrisis Absolution doesn't lack that. It is a full, majestic and yet inclined to the dark side sound that hits the listener. Sometimes the voice has to struggle in order to withstand the raging storms of the guitars. Here the balance is not exactly right, but this is nothing that significantly diminishes the class of the album. So if you don't want to let the 'Thunder Of Awakening' blow the nightcap off your head until your 'Bloodlust And Immortality' are guaranteed for the time being, you are missing one of the best pieces of genuinely Finnish black metal of the last years. There is no silly hysteria or bestial excesses here, but only muscular music, which is presented powerfully, confidently and highly competently. I'm still not shocked, sorry for that. But I really hope the presentation of the vinyl can keep up with this musical content.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10881