That follow-up to Below The Hengiform would sound the way it sounds was by no means a certainty and whoever expected Malthusian to embrace the more eloquent and cleaner sound on this full-length was probably at least surprised, if not downright disappointed, seeing that they actually made a step in the opposite direction and released what could easily be the most disturbing and claustrophobic death metal album in recent years.
Across Deaths feels like a massive torrent of dense gloom, without shape or structure, that towers above everything and absorbs everything. However, it is comprised of songs that rely on very similar patterns and arrangements, and even after a dozen of listens, if asked to identify a random twenty seconds sequence of music on this album, it’s highly unlikely that one would be able to do so and decipher which song the sequence had been taken from. That said, Across Deaths doesn’t hide its purpose and what it aims to communicate. As unpleasant as it is, this album is actually very candid and straightforward in how unpenetrable it is ˗ almost as if it intentionally doesn’t want a listener to enjoy it and have a good time with it. Its main flaw, however, is the fact that the very second the album ends, all that stays in memory is that very particular, unpleasant feeling the music radiates and not the music itself. Is that a good or a bad thing, who’s to say? Should riffs be able to stand alone and be a purpose in themselves or should they just assist in creating a certain atmosphere or feeling? No incorrect answer to this question fortunately, and if the mood strikes, that corresponds with the mood of this gloomy, difficult album, then one should embrace it and go for it. Otherwise, do yourself a favour and try any other death metal record from your playlist. It will feel so harmless compared to this gruesome monster.
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