Xasthur- Defective Epitaph

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, October 15, 2007

I don’t know how he does it, but Malefic and his Xasthur project have managed to come out with release after release on a near six month basis. Following up on 2006’s Subliminal Genocide (which earned a fairly good review from us) Defective Epitaph sees Xasthur continuing on with the dreary and suicidal sound it has had all along. For the first time ever, this release sees Malefic using a real drum kit instead of a drum machine. However, it just isn’t enough to distinguish the material from previously released tracks, and at over 70 minutes in length listeners are likely to move on rather quickly.

Those who have followed Xasthur for any extended period of time should already know what to expect from this album. Continuing in his now traditional style, Malefic’s latest compositions are as dreary and raw as ever, with the only major difference being the use of analog drums. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the mixing and production of Xasthur’s music the drum beats are often at odds with the rest of the music. I do like how Malefic is trying to evolve ever so slightly by adding in analog drums, but when the mixing job is so raw it just makes them overpower everything else.

I could spend an entire paragraph talking about the vocals, but it’s really not worth it. If you’ve heard any album by this artist before than you should know what to expect; indecipherable screaming that seems to be coming from the bowels of Hell itself. One aspect I do want to mention is how overbearingly long this album is. Defective Epitaph runs for 70 plus minutes, and even hardcore Xasthur listeners will eventually tire of its consistently similar formula before the release has come to an end.

Malefic can be commended for trying something slightly different by using analog drums, but in the end this is still another average release. Fans will still come to appreciate it over time, but Defective Epitaph still pales in comparison to Xasthur’s earlier works and even Subliminal Genocide. There’s still potential to be found within this album, but perhaps releasing an album a year isn’t the best solution for this project. Malefic needs to go back to the drawing board and take a little more time to flesh out his music, as only then could it return to its former glory.


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