MALICE "Symphony Of Darkness" 2009
/Metal Scrap Production/

1 Deadly Crucify
2 Cathedral of Satan
3 Procession Approach
4 Mysterious Portret
5 Idol Dead
6 Prays Sick
7 Schizo Sign

malice - symphony of darkness

Very interesting, and one's own way a characteristic album was given us by Ukrainian label Metal Scrap Productions is re-editing of debut album of Ukrainian band Malice, history of which takes began in 1993 (!).

Another band with unordinary destiny… Appearing in 1993 under the name Darkness (!), disintegrating in 1994, again returning of the framework in 1998, changing stylistic and name, suffering the cardinal cast changing, in 2000 at last band recorded the debut album Symphony Of Darkness, and in 2001 released him on MC by young Ukrainian label Griffin Music. No long waiting band sets to work above new material, however in 2003 again halts any activity. And makes decision about renewal of activity only in 2008. The first step was re-editing Symphony Of Darkness on CD by one of eldest Ukrainian label Metal Scrap Productions at the beginning of current year , which I present to reader attention. So speech will go about material almost “archive”, if it is possible to be so expressed:)

And material is traditional (is it possible already to talk about some traditions in this style? As for me, it is time:)), not very much innovational, but high-quality and fully competitive symphonic black metal. On publishing label site style of Malice marked as “melodic death black metal”… Dare not insist, but however - death constituent I personally did not notice. And all right.

I wrote - “very much innovational”. That, so that it so, but it is not needed to forget that album looks so from "high" of 2009. But it is written down in 2000, and for those years, when such music was on the nosedive of the popularity, album, as the saying goes, “on level”.

As usually I have it writing of reviews, there is a desire with what to compare the criticized material. With what? We will remind first, that similar music, going out in the period of end of 90-th are beginnings of 2000-th years (and released in those years enough!), it was more frequent than all accepted comparing with “masters of style” - Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir. Following tradition, we will do the same. So, Cradle Of Filth? No, no “cradle” in music of Malice it is not in trace. With Dimmu Borgir it’s more difficult. Or vice versa - simpler, who how likes anymore. Because with music of these commercial black kings vague similarity at Malice is present. Albums of Dimmu Borgir period 1997-2001 years - not bad standard for comparison. But comparison it - not so rectilinearly, as possible it would be to suppose. And - rather formal. On a spirit and atmosphere is completely another music, less aggressive and placed - more various (even so!). Better we will do so - I will name the several of comparable compositions “second-third echelons” from different countries music of which is in a greater or less degree comparable with that, what does Malice, and the respected reader will do for itself a conclusion, as far as it is near him. They are - Alghazanth, Uhrilehto, Catamenia, Enochian Crescent, Oath Of Cirion, Arthemesia, Ceremonial Embrace, and more - cult Darkwoods My Betrothed, Ad Infernа, Apostasia, Radigost (early!), Valhalla & Dryados, Atra Universum & Vesperian Sorrow, Bishop Of Hexen, Castrum, Cryptic Wintermoon, Mactatus, Necromicon, Oathean … I assume some comparing to early creation of countrymen of Malice - project Capitollium, and also cult Polish Profanum… Danes of Compos Mentis… But it already melodic-death! No, all the same, death attributes, if to mean melodic-death, in music of Malice take place. But there are enough comparisons.

Oriented to the key sounding - perhaps, main in Symphony Of Darkness. Beautiful, various key parties follow “stand out” during all album, as different intro, solo and background support. And sounding of keyboard instruments - some quite “not black”. And herein is a large merit of band, because grant, it is the same “much kick”, doing material unusual. Key parties remind European old school melodic death-doom - something of early The Gathering, Cemetary Of Scream or Nattvinden’s Grat. And key theme at the beginning Mysterious Portrait in general reminds the cult beginning of debut album The Gathering - The Mirror Waters.

To other dignities of album it is necessary to take not bad expressive vocal, fully proper executable music, excellent guitar solos (listen even a solo in Idol Dead or most beautiful key-guitar in Procession Approach, distinctly reminding some of classic music!), disseminations “old” heavy-metal riffing, taken on arming with plenty of melodic-death bands.

To minuses of album I would attribute, perhaps, only record of drums. In general, a studio sound of drums is a misfortune of many young bands, and especially - bands from so urgent “C.I.S.” spaces. What it is related to - a question is separate, here will say only - sound of drums flat and plastic, and there is the impression, that placed did not treat without drum-machine (although on an album cover meant “live” drummer). In other - all be well.

Well and main dignity is material, certainly! In general, in third times listening Symphony Of Darkness, I catch myself on an idea, that album from time to time is liked more! At the first listening a sound appeared not enough saturated and “heavy”, material - not enough “hit”… The next listening put everything at the places! Material - more than deserving and sounding of him fully corresponds the creative project of musicians, creating exactly that, atmosphere required in this case!

I will say upon completion, that Symphony Of Darkness is rather good published enough. A disk in edition of Metal Scrap Productions is supplied new amusing artwork, and on the working surface of disk is inflicted not only the name of album and logotype of band, but even miniature reproduction of cover of album (!).

Estimation: 7/10


Do not confuse this Malice with the US one that released a couple of albums back in the days. This is a Russian symphonic black metal band and not a glam one from LA. I wonder what the World of black metal would be without the success of Dimmu Borgir. Have we not seen enough youngsters trying to emulate what their heroes achieved? I?m not saying that out of trying nothing good won't come. Originally released in 2001 on tape this symphonic black metal album got a CD release in 2009 with new lay-out. Is it worth this treatment? I have to say yes. While not being overly inventive there's an aura of greatness to "Symphony Of Darkness" that prevents it from falling between the cracks of mediocre symphonic black metal. The sound and tempo is not as hysterical, or even as chaotic as it sometimes can be with Dimmu Borgir. The overall impression is of a more controlled and contained sound. A sound I like better than chaos.

Anders Ekdahl /Battle Helm/

Good spoon for dinner ... Here is another confirmation of this folk Russian wisdom - the debut (and so far only) album Ukrainian band Malice "Symphony Of Darkness", dating of 2000 year. If you recall the level of domestic metal scene a decade ago and listen to this CD you will realize that it on those standards was very topical (symphonic / heavy / black metal) and very high quality material which had every chance of success, not only in the post-Soviet space. But for some reason the album took place then only on MC and CD format until it came just now, when this disc may already be interested solely rested fans of Malice.

Andrew Koryuhin /Dark City №52/

Malice is a Ukrainian black metal band that plays a very melodic and symphonic style. This full-length called ‘Symphony Of Darkness’ was already released in 2001 but I never knew of its existence. Malice know their way around the instruments bud sadly the album is severely lacking in the originality department. Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child and Cradle Of Filth all had their marking on the album, so the style sounds very familiar and Malice doesn’t stray one iota from this formula which makes it rather cliched and boring affair. In the end ‘Symphony Of Darkness’ is too generic to rise some eyebrows even a little bit.

Roel de Haan (
Issue 116
July / August 2011

Schon mal von MALICE gehort? Sicherlich, aber nicht unbedingt von diesem ukrainischen Trio namens MALICE, das irgendwo zwischen Symphonic Black Metal und melodischem Death seine Heimat findet. Im Jahre 2000 wurde ein Album auf Cassette veroffentlicht, das den treffenden Titel „Symphony Of Darkness“ tragt und an den meisten wohl unbemerkt vorbeigezogen sein durfte. Um Abhilfe zu schaffen, erfahrt „Symphony Of Darkness“ ein Re-Release im CD-Format, und das ist ein zweischneidiges Schwert. Die Zeit ist erbarmungslos, und in den letzten zehn Jahren wurde der Markt mit vielen Releases aus diesem Bereich geflutet, die diesen teilweise auf eine neue Ebene gebracht und MALICE damit uberholt haben. So gesehen ist „Symphony Of Darkness“ leider etwas unspektakular und harmlos. Reist man allerdings in das Jahr 2000 zuruck und sieht sich um, was es zu der Zeit gibt, kann man MALICE nicht unbedingt eine Vorreiterrolle, wohl aber eine gewisse Frische und solide musikalische Fahigkeiten bescheinigen. Das Trio verzichtet auf die Auslotung von Extremen, bleibt gern in Midtempo-Bereichen und relativ eingangigen Strukturen. Die Gitarren bieten solide Riff-Kost und einige Soli, die kurz aufhorchen lassen; das Drum-Spiel hingegen wirkt zeitweise etwas platt. Die Keyboards sind durchweg prasent, fahren den Kitschfaktor jedoch nicht allzu hoch. Oftmals als spharische Untermalung oder pianesk ins Geschehen eingebracht, klimpern sie aber auch mal wie in ‚Procession Approach‘, wo sie am Ende von einem klassisch inspirierten Saitenspiel und einer Solo-Einlage abgelost werden beziehungsweise dann wieder flachig in den Hintergrund treten. Sanger Morgoth knurrt schwarzmetallisch heiser, ab und an werden dem einige Growls an die Seite gestellt. (Allerdings darf man nicht zu intensiv auf die Aussprache des Herrn achten.) In ‚Idol Dead‘ gehen MALICE dann passagenweise mal richtig aufs Gas, und irgendwie schaffen sie es, dass man in diesem Stuck an die Debutwerke von sowohl The Gathering, als auch Cradle Of Filth erinnert wird. Das Erstwerk von The Gathering sowie das eine oder andere Fruhwerk Dimmu Borgirs scheinen generell etwas durch. Auch das folgende ‚Prays Sick‘ verfugt uber diesen Wechsel zwischen flotten und langsamen Tempi, wirkt aber nicht so homogen wie das vorangegangene Stuck. Alles in allem ist „Symphony Of Darkness“ recht nett anzuhoren, aber es ist fraglich, ob ein deartiges Re-Release wirklich sein muss. (ES)



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