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Presented in that singularly delightful balance of a nekro sound that is both distorting, atmosphere-emphasizing but which retains the necessary clarity of the instruments played, Summum Malum’s Evil Rehearsal, brings us a more experienced take on recordings previously published by them in an official release. The general style is fast and rough, interlaced with pauses where the guitar introduces melodies in a kinder hand feel, while modality remains on the gloom-oriented, tritone-obsessed metal method. The drums are adept in remaining relatively sensitive to changes and needs, for those with ears for this style, while never really abandoning the frenetic approach and narrowness of approach that the band’s style requires for effectiveness.

This is an outstanding though inconspicuous release, as far as metal goes, that came to our attention thanks to Asmodian Coven’s work in making available rare zine material, which provided a snapshot of the mentality of the musicians behind the band. While some may at some point consider that looking for philosophically and intellectually refined artists would probably provide a best bet in finding better music, this most often is not the case. A more keen observation would be that it is those with a mythic imagination, coupled with a rich sense of reality rather than religious faith or philosophical acumen, have more often proven to be decisive and relevant to transcendent art and thus to a higher vision of reality in action beyond the social or the temporal.

What could draw the attentive eye to look for Summum Malum’s work while and after reading the article was the unwavering barrage of dark energy the interviewee seemed to project, while not descending into moronic aping, even if apparently barbaric (and thus still moronic) the conditioned mundane. Songs provide different content, but since riffs and sections are built from a few recurring melodic and rhythmic figures, it is the structure which lends compositions merit. Moreover, the lo-fi state that lends this recording the richness of that nekro sound instead of resting from its value, is a vote in favor of the idea that authentic metal is inseparable from lo-fi, minimal production.

On the downside, the aforementioned narrowness in approach also ensures that there are only so many fresh and organic pieces that can result from them. Fortunately for art itself, the band stopped making music after the first few bouts, leaving us only with that material that many bands only show in their most fanatical —and thus honest and connected to a transcendent sphere in some way or another— phase. In the present recording it is not shadows, or even clear statements that we find, but pitch black darkness, and grayish distractions streaked with blood from the physical and psychical strain of a mind purposely thrown into the violent, the savage, within itself.


Listen to Summum Malum