REVIEW: M8L8TH / М8Л8ТХ – “ONSLAUGHT” (SINGLE)

By Nathanas Trismegistus

M8l8th (or Moloth) released (what they call) an experimental, single under the “label” (?) – or, possibly, “media download site” – Heretic Camp. One has to wonder if the goal of this site is to be the dissident equivalent of Bandcamp for bands or artists too extreme for mainstream music distribution sites. I’m sure I’ll receive some flak for even acknowledging this group’s existence. Alexei Levkin, the band’s frontman, is a very controversial figure (understatement of the millennium). It was just one really crazy night, though. Sure, there were some murders – maybe some war crimes. But, I mean, who hasn’t been there? Am I right? Regardless, this being a brief release, you can expect a brief review.

As always, with regards to M8l8th’s music, the weakest link – I think – is Alexei’s vocals. Here they are layered with a down-pitched, croaky filter which, I think, does the job of contributing to the bellicose, militant (yet, in a sense, Apollonian) atmosphere associated with M8l8th. Whoever does the backing, male vocals for M8l8th knocked it out of the park, as always. There are also female vocals – a first for M8l8th – which are pleasant and operatic. The most, obvious difference with this single is the style. M8l8th’s typical affair is Absurd-influenced, Graveland- and Nokturnal Mortum-esque, melody-heavy black metal – except with genuinely (and unnecessarily) good production quality – with atonal, vaguely Slavic hip-hop-styled vocals contrasted with the aforementioned diatonic operatic backing vocals and occasional audio samples of simulated medieval combat. Here, M8l8th have thrown all of that out the fucking window (except the backing vocals). “Onslaught” can be approximately described as industrial, electronic NS retro synth-wave (which I will, here, deem “Fashwave”) not unlike DJ Himmler, which is far beyond my musical comfort zone. And, consequently, I don’t know if I’m qualified to critique it. If you watch the music video, you will probably notice – between the footage stolen from Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, Troy (I think that’s Brad Pitt on the right at 4:09), and various other films – the distinct, retro-80’s neon aesthetic. It’s kind of at odds with the more classical themes and aesthetics as well as the gritty, obscurantist kvlt atmospheres also presented in the video. It’s also tired and overplayed. That being said, synth-wave is probably a more marketable sound than black metal, so I can see a lot of people, who don’t know who M8l8th is, becoming beguiled by this new strategy. The music is good, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

I’m sure long-standing fans of M8l8th (and black metal in general) will hate it. It is different. Very different. M8l8th called it “experimental” and, to my surprise, they weren’t lying. I don’t know why they chose this approach. Is it an attempt to broaden the appeal of the band’s music (and, by extension, ideology)? Perhaps. I must say, though. Despite this not being my cup of tea, there is something oddly hypnotic about it – something inspiring. Not recommended for anyone seeking political office. Essential if you wish to awaken the Übermensch in you.

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