Hadal Maw – Olm (Released February 3, 2017 – EVP Recordings)
Hadal Maw take a stripped back approach to technical death metal on Olm. Gone are the flashy atmospheres and electronic saturation and pulled into sharp focus are the the guitars and drums. Everything is angry and percussive, the guitars separate themselves from the bass in the form of sharp, off kilter solos existing from single notes to cascading sweeps. Almost djenty in places the album is extremely guttural and heavy but, with the atmosphere and electronic saturation removed, has no weight. Everything appears to be solid as it approaches and you raise your arms to ward off the incoming brick wall only to find it passes by without leaving a mark. Instead of being held down in a barrage of riffs and drums the album was purely aural in nature.
The track ordering was a little off as well as Simian Plagure and Germinate were placed back-to-back and were the only tracks to feature an acoustic and open section so blend together when you think back on the album. In the few moments where everything pulled back the open spaces were filled with sparse drums and high notes plucked individually at random. The drumming became monotonous with the kick becoming an angry buzz, most noticeably on Affluenza and Hyena. Affluenza, though, did feature the best solo with some groovy tapping. The title track featured some neat mixing as the song bounced right to left across the headphones in places and isolated a couple of guitar sections to pull them away from the bass line.
Olm was distinctly a technical death metal album but, was missing an oppressive atmosphere and massive feeling so became a collection of B-side almost djent riffs interspaced with technical solos.