Symphonic black metal is one of those genres that are really hard to do well. There are a lot of bands out there that try their hand at writing material with sweeping instrumentation and orchestral elements, but the end results can fall somewhere between overly cheesy synth driven black metal or stunning grandiose black metal that has a larger than life feel. France’s Malevolentia is one of those groups capable of the latter and they’re making a statement with their new full length ‘République’, their first release in over five years.
Today we’re pleased to present you with Völuspá, the third track from ‘République’. At seven minutes in length, it gives the band plenty of time to demonstrate why they’re so good at this style. It wastes no time in letting the orchestral elements drive things forward, as horns and other instruments lead in to the mid-tempo black metal attack. Malevolentia does a better than job than most at balancing the black metal and orchestral elements, as the guitar leads have that razor sharp edge that are counterbalanced by the sweeping instrumentation of the orchestra. Throughout Völuspá there is a consistently larger than life feel, with the song often sounding like it’s the soundtrack to a movie that involves some very violent conflicts. About halfway in the orchestra subsides a bit and riffing that recalls the Swedish black metal style sweep in, providing that extra burst of darkness and dread alongside the soaring, melodic elements.
The back and forth between the symphonic/orchestral instrumentation and abrasive black metal riffing isn’t the only highlight of Völuspá though, as lead singer Spleen deserves plenty of credit as well. As the material heads towards stunning melodies and soaring climaxes, she utilizes an extremely harsh, high pitched shriek that tears through the sound and grabs you right by the throat. It’s one of the more abrasive, in your face shrieks/screams I’ve heard in recent memory, and is sure to leave an impression on listeners. There are also some slightly lower pitches that appear about mid-way through the song, and well-placed choral singing making the whole piece feel that much more epic.
‘République’ was released on April 18th through Epictural Production, and if you enjoyed the sweeping, cinematic feel of Völuspá I’d definitely recommend checking out the entire record. It’s rare to find a group that can do the symphonic/orchestral elements in a way that feels just as polished as the black metal ones, and that makes Malevolentia worth paying attention to.