Review Summary: When death metal and black metal beautifully collide
Of all the seemingly endless amount of scenes in modern-day death metal, the Finnish death metal scene is perhaps the most intriguing of them all. Although the styles of each band in this scene may vary (from the melodic approach used by Amorphis to the downright bizarre-yet-mind-crushingly-heavy nature of Demilich), there is one thing that each of these bands have in common: to make death metal which simply takes you places that other death metal bands don't. These artists may not have common ground with regards to having a specific sound, but most Finnish death metal bands share an innate ability to create an ominous, foreboding atmosphere.
None of these bands quite achieve this atmosphere like the Helsinki-based Maveth. Released in 2012, their debut 'Coils of the Black Earth' is an intense hour-long aural assault which grabs the listener from the first riff of opener 'Devourer Within the Gulf' until the dying embers of closer 'Terminus II: Hinnom Everlasting'.
Maveth take the renowned buzzsaw tone of old Swedish death metal bands such as Entombed and Dismember and combine it with the riffing style found in black metal, and the effectiveness of combining these two genres is evident throughout 'Coils of the Black Earth'. The album's main strength is its ability to churn out riffs that sound terrifyingly evil without making it seem like a big gimmick; take the tremolo-picked riff that absolutely rips through the air in 'Hymn to Azael'. These tremolo-picked riffs in particular can only be described as monolithic, and are what gives the album its evil, black metal influence. Other tracks with these types of riffs include the aforementioned 'Devourer Within the Gulf', as well as 'Hymn to the Black Matron' and the title-track.
In terms of percussion, drummer Ville Markkanen is an absolute demon behind the kit. Standard double bass and blast beats are used heavily throughout the album, but it never gives off the impression of being excessive, instead just adding to the chaos caused by the guitars. The blast beats and double bass actually mix in rather perfectly with the guitar parts to create a monumental abyss of purely maleficent noise.
This malignancy is then further enhanced by the vocalist Christbutcher. Cheesy pseudonyms aside, this guy's growl is deeper than the fiery depths of hell itself, and is a perfect match for the chaotic nature of the instruments.
Maveth's biggest achievement is managing to avoid any of the clichés found in death metal, managing to create an album with its own identity and level of ferociousness completely off the scale compared to most of their contemporaries. It's nice to see a band not fall into the trap of over-indulgence; there is no overtly gory artwork here, no over-the-top lyrical themes, and perhaps most importantly of all, no mindless, noticeable patterns in the songwriting. Instead, Maveth meticulously plan every riff and every blast to perfection, creating a relentless vortex of noise designed to grab you by the throat and never let go, dragging you into the deepest chasms of pure terror and foreboding.