“Maledicere” is Latin for “to curse,” but the literal translation is “to speak ill” or “to speak wickedly.” In the case of this Minneapolis black metal band, it might best be understood as “to speak evil.” Maledicere was founded as a two-man project in 2006 and had expanded into a four-piece by 2010. Their period of growth neatly coincided with the metastasis of “USBM” — vaguely Slavic black metal torn up by the roots and drowned in the cliches of post-rock and peace-punk. As their peers and juniors jumped on the bandwagon, Maledicere stood their ground, releasing 2011’s searing full-length Leave Only What Is Fit To Burn. Now, with The Stench of This Rot, they deliver another forceful counterthrust against the False.
What immediately distinguishes Maledicere is their contempt for the bland prettiness of Cascadian BM and “metalgaze.” Sinister melodies grind against disharmonic counterpoints. Waves of blastbeats crash on iron shores. The performance is rabid, the production is raw, yet what rises above the din is an image of grand, magisterial Evil. On the title track, Maledicere skillfully juxtapose aggressive blasting with deliberate overall pacing, delivering a scornful jeremiad against the long shadow of Christ. “The Trenches of Hadal” is denser and more dissonant, but coheres around a set of very strong riffs that drive home the power of this band. There is a terrible clarity to the lyrics, with Maledicere condemning traitors to a ritual drowning in the “tar black waters” of the ocean depths. In a way, this is Orthodox black metal, but it doesn’t lean heavily on subgenre cliches, and it has an immediacy that sets it apart from the more polished French and Swedish bands.
These songs have appeared separately on previous demos and EPs, but this band hasn’t received nearly enough attention, so a re-recording is perfectly appropriate. The Stench of This Rot comes out this month on Handmade Birds. This might seem an unlikely band/label pairing, but Maledicere has a severity that sits well alongside the likes of Ramleh and Tenhornedbeast, and LURKER welcomes this convergence between two sides of our collective musical taste. Listen to the stream above, and order the 10″ here.