MAUL “Seraphic Punishment”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Not to be confused with Canadian traditional metal band MAULE (who are a most excellent band, by the way), Fargo, North Dakota’s MAUL is the latest in a seemingly endless barrage of rough and ready primitive death metal savages to assault the world. What they do, they do well, but wow, the constant flow of such bands tends to dilute them all.

This MAUL does favor a simpler and more direct form of death metal, but they are clever enough to put variation in their songs, making them more distinct. They hit a good note right off the bat with “Of Human Frailty”, which kicks off with a swinging groove that could almost be called a death metal jig. It slows down later into more of a sticky, doomy mass, which is a pattern MAUL follows here. They definitely have a yen for the slower, ickier tunes, which can easily be heard on “Buried In Resin” and “Oracular Burial Grounds”, but never do they get so slow that you can call the band death/doom.

The reverse also holds true, as tracks that start slow usually hit the gas pretty hard at some point. Think of MASSACRE as an overall touch point for the band. The sound and production is strong, but where MAUL hits a problem is just the overall flood of death metal. In the early 90’s, you might have ten bands a year break through. Now it seems to be that much every couple of weeks and it’s impossible to break out of the pack. I recommend “Seraphic Punishment” to lovers of more primitive, bulldozer like death metal but there’s gonna be more on the way real quick.