Maul – Seraphic Punishment (Review)

Maul - Seraphic PunishmentThis is the debut album from US death metal band Maul.

Across 38 minutes Seraphic Punishment torments us with nasty death metal that will not only leave a bad taste in your mouth, but a rusty meat cleaver too. Savage and brutal, the band’s music offers a crushing display of murderous death metal carnage. The style mixes the classic Swedish style with equally classic USDM, to create a hybrid of the two that lacks the strengths of neither.

This is thick and heavy stuff, with meaty guitars that drip with appeal as they cut and slice through the rest of the music. Beefy riffs smash buildings with near-tangible distortion, while punishing drums clear the way of any bystanders. The vocals I particularly enjoy; a range of guttural, growls, and screams that the talented singer performs his role with passion and skill. I love his voice.

But the riffs. Oh, the riffs.

As well as the above, there are moments of both nuance and subtlety on Seraphic Punishment. Maul will occasionally slip into an atmospheric segment that’s surprisingly deft and intricate, building macabre mood with emotive guitars and eerie synths. Aside from this, even some of the more aggressive moments come with embedded melodies that raise the material up a level, especially when twinned with one of the especially expressive riffs that pepper the album like bombshells.

Have I mentioned the riffs…?

I’m glad that Maul deliver more than just brutality, as this deepens the experience offered by Seraphic Punishment and gives the songs more longevity than they might have otherwise had. With top quality songwriting and brutally catchy hooks, Maul have positioned themselves so that Seraphic Punishment is likely to be regarded as one of the premier death metal releases of 2022.

If bands like Gatecreeper, Genocide Pact, Ossuarium, Outer Heaven, Wharflurch, Witch Vomit and Tomb Mold get you all excited, then you’ll love this.

Essential listening.

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