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Album Reviews : Hadal Maw – Olm

By on February 4, 2017

HadalMawArtwork-300x300Technical Death metal and Australia might surprise most of you as being a match made in heaven. With a history that boasts bands like The Berzerker up to more recently The Schoenberg Automaton, there is just something about the land down under that makes Tech-Death thunder. Enter Hadal Maw, who with their latest release Olm, prove that this is a genre that’s still got a lot of life left to give!

From the very outset of Olm you realise that there’s something very gritty about this album. It’s an album that retains a gritty technical feel about it that is remiss of a band like Meshuggah, but is also quite eloquently structured so that your never unsure that this is a death metal album that is out to melt your face off.

In the same vein of Senium before it, Olm builds its great sound from its proficient drumming base. Honestly, this is one of the best releases I’ve heard in recent memory that is able to not only nail the technical proficiency of such an ‘in your face’ technical style of drumming, but manages to use it as an integral part of the bands overall sound. This is perhaps most prevalently shown in the closing passage of Affluenza where the rolling blast beats are not diluted and complement the guitar passages perfectly to create an eerie closing to an already brilliant song.

The other key strength in Olm lies in Hadal Maw’s ability to construct each song in such a way that the dissonant guitar tones – and at times – drumming, can change at a moment’s notice into a something that blends into a masterpiece of harmonies. These cleaner harmonic passages are often highlighted as part of an outro passage of a song, but the transitions are seamless enough that you don’t realise they have occurred until you’re already well into the section.

I did find this album refreshing, but also felt that there were particular sections on the album that felt uninspired. I will admit that this could have to do with my own personal opinions on the genre, but there were times I felt that certain passages felt very similar to pieces I had heard earlier. In saying this there was enough variety to reassure the listener that they aren’t to the same tracks which is a good touch.

With a running time of just over 45 minutes, the album sadly winds up just as it is beginning to whet your appetite for more. And although there are still flaws with it, it’s a marked improvement on Senium. Hadal Maw are undoubtedly one of the best technical death metal products running in Australia right now and Olm is another fine example on how the legacy of great Australian Death Metal bands like The Berzerker is at risk. If you like your music heavy, brutal and in your face, while being splashed with a hint of melody, then this album is the one for you!

Band: Hadal Maw
Album: Olm
Year: 2017
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Label: EVP Recordings
Origin: Australia