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Album Reviews : Hadal Maw – Senium

By on September 15, 2014

It took me a couple of listens to appreciate Senium, but I’m really (begrudgingly) glad that I stuck with it. This is Australia’s answer to Necrophagist. And while I’m sure a number of die-hard Necrophagist fans will tell me they never asked a question in the first place, those guys probably like anime so I’m not too worried about what the fuck they think. This is a fantastically technical death metal album that is so close to tickling me the right way.

To start with why it doesn’t – firstly, I’m a little confused about its pacing. Right when I think it’s going to get monotonous it pulls out a cool twist that keeps me listening. Worried that the whole album will be technically impressive but melodically boring? Don’t worry Mitch, here’s Corridors and Coils packed full of creepy and memorable hooks you’ll be humming for days. Bit tired of all the blast beats and double kicks? All good, Dissent and The Lurid have some of the grooviest shit Australians have produced since they started mining WA with explosives.

What I’m confused about is whether or not it’s a good thing that I even get to the point of wanting to hear something else. Maybe it’s my attention span, but every so often my mind would wander off and would need snapping back to attention. Then again, maybe it’s the production, which is my other only complaint (and it’s slight).

It’s just a bit too deathy, for want of any other, not-completely-stupid term. The guitars are fuzzy, the mix a tad muddy, and the vocals start to sound like the crackling of a camp fire – noticeable in their absence, but more background cackling than a human screaming at me.

The reason I’m mentioning these complaints is because the songs are really good, but it took me a couple of concerted listens to hear it. Hadal Maw seem to be more thoughtful than brutal, more threatening than aggressive, and having a more subtle mix would’ve brought that out. Even now I can’t help but feel that some of my favorite passages are my favorite because of what my mind is filling in for me, not for what I explicitly hear. Then again, this could be because my hearing is shot, my speakers are shit, and I have the attention span of someone who won’t bother finishing this analogy.

I only bring these issues up because otherwise this review would be 500 words of gushing, contemptible praise. It’s heavy, technical, haunting, groovy, memorable and impressive, just not always at once. Which doesn’t really matter. To put it bluntly – this will be probably be the best tech metal album Australia produces this year. Senium is an album of proper songs, not just excuses to show how much fun we can all have on Guitar Pro. Every time I listen to it I’m finding more to enjoy about it, and I think it also says enough that I am wanting to listen to it so much. It gets better with every spin; I just wish I liked it that much the first time I heard it.

Band: Hadal Maw
Album: Senium
Year: 2014
Genre: Death metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, VIC

Track list:
1. Aetas De Morior
2. Invisible Eye
3. Corridors
4. From the Mouths of Monsters
5. Dissent
6. Ancestry
7. Coil
8. Hypnoguise
9. The Lurid
10. Altar of Ire
11. Obsequia


Mitch is a 26 year old vegan, socialist, atheist, utilitarian, reductionist metalhead, stand up comedian and philosophy major that hates labels. When he isn't being politely ignored at dinner parties he's being politely ignored on comedy nights around the country.