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Tårnet (1995)

By 1995, there were a ton of Norwegian bands releasing albums of sub-par material and getting a bit of attention just for the mere fact that they hailed from the same country as the likes of Mayhem, Darkthrone and Burzum. Some of these later bands managed to attain some sense of longevity, whether deserved or not, while others passed into oblivion or altered their sound in time. Malignant Eternal was one of the countless bands that played a rather generic form of Norwegian black metal, with heavy reliance on the keyboards, and accomplishing very little in the long run. Their first full-length album, Tårnet, was released in February 1995 and failed to make much of an impression.

Musically, this is not a horrible effort. There are some decent riffs, here and there. Unfortunately, the synth is the dominant sound on this record and the guitars seem to serve as a backdrop to the keyboards, rather than the other way around. The riffs sound reminiscent of other more notable bands, such as Emperor and Gorgoroth, with the vocalist even sounding rather similar to Hat. The faster sections seem to be a little too fast, in that the blast beats kind of detract from any sense of atmosphere, since the guitar melodies are unable to fully expand. Most of the riffs are generic or derivative of their peers anyway, but would still be enjoyable in the absence of the overpowering synth. Most of the material on here is rather forgettable.

In reality, there is a reason why albums like this were overlooked for so long and mostly enjoy the attention of people that like to boast of all the obscure bands that they know or simply because some listeners have a fetish for anything Norwegian, regardless of quality. This possesses a decent production, not polished but nowhere near the necro garage sound of some bands. If not for the keyboards, it would sound somewhat grim since the guitars have a cold sound and the vocals are certainly tormented and hellish. The mix is weak, even without the unnecessary elements, as the guitars seem a little low compared to the drums and vocals.

Tårnet is not worth tracking down, unless you like generic black metal that is drowning in over-dramatic synth. This is more for the type of person that likes to get their hands on anything Norwegian, from this era. Avoid this and listen to Pentagram instead.
(26 Oct. 2011)

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