Photos by Susan Rowe
The short, ominous string arrangement, “The Tempest,” that opens Boston quartet, Malleus’, debut offers a false sense of quietude that belies the mayhem that ensues over the following 40 minutes/seven songs. In fact, the tune it segues into,”A Dark Sun Rises,” a thrashy, old-school black metal rager, actually offers a more accurate depiction. It’s a full-tilt expression of jagged riffing, a relentless rhythm section and vomitous vocals. The rest of The Fires of Heaven offers up variations on that same theme, with the backbone of most songs in the thrash realm, and the vocals decidedly black. And to their credit, Malleus—The Channeler (vocals), The Hammer (guitar), The Watcher (bass), The Relentless (drums)—find ways to stick to this blueprint without churning out a bunch of like-sounding tracks. The material ebbs and flows in its tempos and dynamics, moving from more concise kill-speed numbers to stretched-out, almost trad metal epics .
The Fires of Heaven was recorded and mixed at New Alliance Audio by Ethan Dussault between August and December 2021. It was mastered at Saff Mastering, LLC by Carl Saff (Elder, Fu Manchu, Unsane) in March 2022. It’s set for a January 27 release on vinyl, CD and digitally via Armageddon Label. You can place your preorder here.
The Relentless shared his thoughts on the new album:
“The majority of Malleus’ lyrics deal with the impact of the “fear of the unknown” on the human mind throughout history. They reflect on how these phenomena lead to individual and societal fear, paranoia, hatred, violence, and ultimately, codified bigotry and oppression.
The Fires of Heaven follows this theme closely, but in a much more conceptual and chronological manner than our previous releases. Thematically, the songs are about the arrival of English Puritans in New England during the early seventeenth century, their attempted conquest of the region over the next fifty or so years, and the tragedy of their lives, as well as the lives of the various cultural groups they interacted with. These groups included myriad indigenous Native tribes and societies, enslaved Africans, French Catholics, and more.
Specifically, the lyrics deal heavily with the Puritan perception of, and their obsession with salvation and grace; in other words, whether or not they were going to heaven or hell. They steadfastly believed that Satan and his children lurked in the forests of New England, waiting to murder them and corrupt the “preordained” mission to spread their peculiar version of Christianity to the rest of the world. Essentially, this manifested itself as existential fear and hatred, and over time, led to extremely violent conflicts, as well as various outbreaks of religious infighting, paranoia and persecution.”