Malus Dextra is impressive on their EP “A Somber Moment”, not just because the music is dark and powerful, the musical chops on display are simply out of this world. While the band covers traditional topics there is a distinct sweet melancholy to what they do that can’t help but capture your attention. Obsessed with the inherent magic that metal and hard rock provides, the band understands what it means to get at the sheer bombast of the culture and portray it on an epic yet acoustic scale – giving cleansing sound to all whom wish to take part in their communion of clean guitars, resonant rhythms, and high powered melodic vocals. Compared to their usual bone-crushing sound and aggressive growling vocals, this is a completely different Malus Dextra. And it’s both fascinating and all-embracing.
Right from the opening track, “Let Go”, we find Malus Dextra crafting music filled with haunting chord progressions, eloquent melodies, and acoustic leads. There is something strangely entrancing, and distinctly atmospheric about this sound. In particular, their use of the acoustic guitars and pianos help to establish beautiful soundscapes that the listener can get lost in.
The band has somehow figured out how to invoke the sound of ancient spirits. As you listen to the choral intro of “Never Ending”, you’ll find yourself travelling through a mystifying sonic world. It confirms how Malus Dextra is able to construct powerful images with surprisingly simple instrumentation, and beautifully layered vocals. Without being pretentious or overwhelming, Malus Dextra are clearly a very special band, able to easily climb out of their comfort zone.
“Unspoken Words” blends Goth rock into the acoustic equation for a fascinating sound that features a powerful arrangement and the usual dominant vocals. Herein lies a beautifully written song with harmonizing melodies and a complex structure. Featuring ever-rising, emotional vocals and chilling imagery, the song will tug at your heartstrings in all the right ways. The St. Louis, MO based outfit, really hit their stride with this track.
There is something incredibly crushing about “Haunting”, as it drags you down into the same dark void that Malus Dextra is so evidently stuck in. The lead singer’s distinctive voice is a huge part of the appeal, it seems to come from the darkest part of his soul and resonates easily with the listener.
He uses his powerful tones to help give his work depth, and breathes a sense of form into the sonic poetry that he creates. It’s easy to fall in love with someone who so perfectly mirrors the existential torment of the human condition.
“Save Me” is driven by the piano and huge sounding orchestral percussion. Alongside which the vocals blossom into angular melodic flourishes. The song stands out as an emblem of the band’s all-embracing dynamism. The passionate vocals and vivid poeticism make for a truly evocative track.
Overall, this “A Somber Moment” sees Malus Dextra creating earthy and powerful music that speaks to the soul. This record is timeless, its use of organic instrumentation leads to beautiful and lush soundscapes that you can find yourself getting lost in for spin after spin. A curious thought – all Malus Dextra albums have been released on an October 31st date.