Pain and misery are two elements in which we are swimming as there feels like there is an abundance of people suffering and situations that are bleak and dreary. Even as summer is about to burst here in North America, our gloom remains for so many, and just because the heat and sunshine are raging back, that doesn’t heal the blackness that rests in so many hearts.
Australian doom-death crushers Malignant Aura sink their teeth heavily into the seamy side of existence on their massive debut full-length “Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me,” an album that actually tells you all you need to know thematically from its name. But there’s even more behind that as the band’s dour and ferocious doom hammers you, piling smothering riffs and cataclysmic growls on top of you, hardly letting you get a glimpse of light. Mastered by the always trustworthy Arthur Rizk, this band (whose identities I had zero luck finding) adds pressure and merciless pain, forcing you to wallow deep in the endless gloom and come face to face with horrors that’ll take apart your psyche.
“Malignant Aura” opens with eerie throat singing before an incredible riff crests, and the playing slowly bludgeons, taking its time to move over you. The guitars pick up as the pace bashes away, the temperatures swelter, and pressure increases on your chest, agitating your panic level. Guitars moan as the growls lurch, a wave of noise adding corrosion. “In a Timeless Place Beneath the Earth” is immediately sorrowful as guitars gain heat, and the growls crush your will to move forward. The playing speeds up and pummels, and that punishment claws away as the guitars catch fire, blinding you with the blazing. Growls hiss, heavy blows are dealt, and the emotion collects as everything comes to a wrenching end. “There Is Blackness in the Water” is the longest song here, running 12:04 and leaning right into double-kick drum ferocity and crushing growls, later melting from the heat. Hypnosis swells as the darkness thickens and threatens, and then the earth implodes, volcanic force becoming an insurmountable factor. From there, the pace clobbers, doomy guitars layer the soot thick, and everything slowly but surely fades into the night.
The title track begins with a clip from the 1981 film “Possession” before hazy riffs drop, and the growls hulk thickly, the growl of, “I am nothing but a remnant,” digging into your mind. The playing delivers sooty doom punishment until things comes apart, and the guitars enter a full hellish assault as the riffs encircle, burning into oblivion. “Soliloquy Beneath the Sepulchure” runs a massive 10:15 with guitars raining down, the growls pouring generous amounts of misery and sorrow. Vicious heaviness leans in and makes the weight unbearable, and then the heat increases, making breathing something of a chore. Elegant guitars spill, the double kick drums pummel, and everything ends in streams of ash. “…And So It Was That I Lay Down Forever” closes the record by melting iron gates and stomping forcefully, delivering a devastating pace. The slowly burning fury is massive as noise rings, and the mouth of doom begins to consume the earth whole, bringing a full serving of physical and mental destruction. The playing chews on muscle as authoritative speaking booms, slowly but surely bleeding away for good.
Malignant Aura’s brand of death-doom goes down perfectly on their debut “Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me,” a record that should unite younger fans with those who have been dining at the subgenre’s dank halls ever since the beginning. This is a collection that’ll darken your soul and mind but also move your heart to beat faster with excitement and force. This is a masterful debut record, an album that overdelivers and brings the might of the earth to drive you to your knees.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MalignantAura
To buy the album, go here: https://www.bitterlossrecords.com/malignant-aura
For more on the label, go here: https://www.bitterlossrecords.com/