Written by Fantasma el Rey
Huntington Beach’s experimental industrial-metal band Malfaktor hits hard on their debut album The Delay Of The Inevitable, which saw the break of moonlight in late 2008. Providing eleven tracks that pound, slam, and quietly seduce you at various times throughout the disc. Holding fast to their influences while forging a sound of their own, Malfaktor pulls you into their dark world of heavy industrial beats and rhythms, filled out by synth chords and scratchy, heavily distorted guitar and bass, all woven together by the whisper-to-scream vocals.
The mad scientists behind the album’s sound are Larry Orban III (bass, synths, programming), Alex Beal (guitar), Max Ortega (synths, programming, production), and Doug Cheek (vocals, programming, production). The band has gone through some line-up changes as members come and go; check their Myspace page for band history and current line-up. From the get-go the heavy industrial beats grab you and force you to move, pulsing along with the hammering steel heartbeat, distorted bass lines, and equally distorted guitar scratch. Metallic pings, wire plucks, and all sorts of other hard industrial sounds keep you wondering “what the hell is that?” while making it hard to pry away from the disc. Doug’s vocals are low and menacing at times and can soar to macabre, blood-stirring screams as he desires and the songs command.
Song titles and lyrics continue down the dark, macabre path that the album title implies. With track names like “Memoirs Of A Dead Man,” “One By One,” “Sub-Human Machine,” “Sarcophagus,” and “Body Bag” along with horror-film titles such as “The Resistance,” “The Dethroner,” “The Seed,” “The Octopus,” and “Dirty Faith.” From what I can make of the lyrics they are very reflective of the titles. At times the lyrics and vocals are muddy and blend in with the music, which isn’t a bad thing as it adds to the overall appeal of Malfaktor and gives you one more twisted puzzle to piece together, claiming each lyric decoded as a small victory and further look into chief songwriter Doug’s mind.
“Memoirs,” “One By One,” and “Sarcophagus” are the tunes to watch as they showcase what the band can do and what they are capable of. “Memoirs” has an infectious typewriter beat throughout as the guitar shreds in and out around the bloody, murder scene vocals. “One By One” has crowd favorite and hit record oozing out of every sound and into your ears. Catchy chorus, synth, and guitar drive this dark delight while its less than four-minute runtime keep you hitting the repeat button.
“Sarcophagus” opens with a synth run that brings to mind Depeche Mode’s darker pieces but quickly turns midnight black as metal axes fall and machinegun-burst beats change the mood from light torment to the panic of darkness, no air black out, claustrophobia of having a coffin lid closed on you. Music swells, vocals come to a thrilling high before all simmers down for Doug to put forth the closing stament of “a battered soul that was never meant to have the eyes to see.”
Influences are easy to spot from Nine Inch Nails and Fear Factory to Rob Zombie and a score of other bands but Malfaktor puts their stamp down hard on the music they strive to create and deliver to those willing to venture forth into the darkness to find. So far this year Malfaktor’s “The Delay Of The Inevitable” is one of my favorites and I can’t stop spinning it; it’s as if my stereo won’t let go of it and my iPod refuses to skip past it.
For more info on Malfaktor, how to get a copy of The Delay Of The Inevitable or where you can catch them live head to their Myspace page. Also on the page are selections from the CD along with some well done remixes.