Demo:listen: Maltheist

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we look out at the wreck and the ruin, and rather than ask “why,” we just listen to Portland’s Maltheist.

It’s a good time to jam a band like Maltheist. Not only does the Portland-based duo blast and grind everything in their path, but their lyrics read like notes of insurrection scrawled on a shred of paper passed between prisoners of a panopticonic society. If nothing else it’s just nice to feel less alone in this cruel world as you snap your neck to bangers like “No Lords,” “Oligarch,” and all the rest of Maltheist’s succinct debut. Here’s your reassurance: you’re not the only one who’s being driven to grinding madness. Whether they’re art or catharsis, protest music or just noise for noise’s sake, these 11 songs of death-grind vitriol will drown out your cognitive dissonance.

According to Matt Sullivan, Maltheist’s guitarist and vocalist, he and drummer Shane St. Clair “originally met in Anchorage” but didn’t start Maltheist until they both reconnected in Portland. “Our mutual friend Stephan Koweluk recently moved here from Anchorage, too,” says Sullivan. “He’s going to take over drums, and Shane is going to move over to bass and probably do more vocals.” Now this is the first we here at Demo:listen are hearing of this exodus of Alaskan grinders, but if it means getting more bands with the grit and contempt of Maltheist then we fully support the movement.

“There wasn’t any sort of discussion on what we were going to sound like,” says Sullivan. “It wasn’t really a conscious decision, but I think we knew pretty intuitively that this is where we’d land. It’s a pretty good backdrop when everything you see in the news makes you feel like exploding on someone.” But why explode on only one person when you can record and disseminate a demo tape of highly combustible material and thus leave a permanent welt on the sedated face of modern society? Something that will last, surviving even after its creators’ rage has expired.

According to Sullivan: “A major theme for [Maltheist] is how religion is often used in malicious ways. That’s the basic idea behind the name. Plus, I grew up in Tennessee, deep in the Bible Belt, so I was pretty inundated with all these Old Testament stories. Even as a kid, it was hard to hear those stories and come to the conclusion that god was good.”

Get Maltheist’s demo tape while you still can from Nailbat Tapes, or download the songs from the band’s Bandcamp. Whatever you do, just get this noise in your ears and in your brain. If you’re going to be filled with anger it can at least be well-constructed and fresh.

You heard it here first on Demo:listen. Check this space next and every Friday for promising new metal.