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Death the Leveller | ‘Death the Leveller’

With Mael Mordha, stalwarts in Irish scene for almost two decades now, still on an extended break, three of the four members have come together to produce this mournful and engaging entity.

It seems like a fairly natural move for a group currently taking stock of their position.

Mael Mordha, having hit a high on their most recent (thunderous) record, have always have a thick strand of doom in their music.

Their challenge was to extract that and marry it with the vocals of Denis Dowling, best known for fronting Cursed Earth, who released a couple of interesting demos back in the mists of early 90s Ireland.


Right from the off, it’s clear Dowling isn’t holding back in the least on these tracks. It’s eye-opening to contrast the performance of Dowling on the Cursed Earth material (thanks YouTube) with his performance here.

Think a versatile, fresh-sounding and technical singer having somehow preserved his pipes through thirty years of experience and travails, then combining that story-telling style with some very severe sounding guitar.

It’s a good study in how time seems to have seasoned his voice, without diminishing the performance.

Opener, “A Call to Men of Noble Blood”, is a quality song to set out their stall.

The high, piercing guitar notes and striding pace sets the tone for much of the record. The vocals and guitars trade in prominence. Already, it sounds smooth and organic.

Despite these four tracks all being over nine minutes, they manage to glide by rapidly, with a punchy and clear production providing the perfect bedrock.


That said, Dowling’s vocals won’t be for everyone. Accomplished and verbose as they are, there’s a tendency to draw out and really stress syllables; which are layered over some instances of not-so-fluid lyrics (“men who worship politics!”).

This will either adds drama or cause eyes to be cast to heaven depending on who you ask. That sort of delivery is par for the course with more traditional doom though, and for the most part it’s nicely pulled off.

Nowhere is his tremulous yet powerful delivery used as effectively as the opening section of “The Day Before the Night of Broken Glass”. While the song title might be a bit of a mouthful, Dowling infuses the track with brooding emotion, and plenty of character right from the get-go.

When the tracks here really hit their stride, they tap into the same vein as the much-missed Griftegård – an austere and measured style of doom built around a core of genuine emotion and weight.

There are also some moments that draw from the same well as Primordial – with some very tasty, almost golden sounding chords landing with great effect around the four minute mark in ‘Gone Forever’.

All in all – it’s an impressive first effort, at a level to be expected of such experienced hands.

Catching these songs live is the next priority, but they are actively accomplishing that tough task – of delivering doom with real passion in it. Like their eponymous poem, they’re managing to blossom in their dust.

3.8 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 23/07/17

  1. Only problem with the vocals to my ears is that they fall fairly flat here and there. Voice could do with a wee bit of pitch training and then I think the whole thing would really take off. Tunes are great.

  2. Caller of the Black Says:

    Cheers Lorcan! This thing will be on vinyl later in the year, keep an eye on Facebook for new if interested.

  3. Really enjoyed that track, right up my street. Goin to pick this up.

  4. King Hostile Says:

    No Rob…. no Mael Mordha!

  5. damienk666 Says:

    The music is brilliant, excellent, really good. On the vocals they sound a little flat here and there, the melodies are excellent but the delivery is a little weak. With more practice and some training they will be killer. Seriously good stuff though.

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