A slightly claustrophobic listen

The follow up to their highly well-received 2014 debut Senium, Olm sees Hadal Maw both capitalising on the momentum gained from their debut, and shedding the excess weight that created some inconsistencies in that debut.

It may come as a shock that Hadal Maw have slightly altered their sound from the debut, and in my opinion, this is for the better. They’ve pulled back on the outright speed and freneticism offered on Senium. In its place stands a heady mixture that falls somewhere between groovy death metal, and atmospheric tech death.

It doesn’t take long to notice the changes inherent, as the music contained on the album leads from gentle ambience and introspective measures to dissonant and weighty guitar riffs propelled by hellfire percussion. I would venture to say that their new stylistic bent is best evident throughout the solid ‘Failed Harvest’. Later tracks like ‘Witch Doctor’, ‘False King’ and ‘Germinate’ delve quite deeply into Hadal Maw’s altered sonic palette, and the album is made all the better for the ample colour found herein.

The band’s new vocalist, one Sam Dillon, must be mentioned. His impassionate delivery, wrought with rawness, acts as the perfect navigator for the pelagic chasms that Hadal Maw have fashioned for this album.

In a lot of ways Olm finds Hadal Maw comfortable in their new skin. It represents a slightly claustrophobic listen, as deep as the oceanic trenches from which they derive their moniker. Like their first album, Olm isn’t without its problems but I would attribute this to the sudden shift in styles. Still, there’s quite a lot to enjoy here, and if they can further sharpen and focus their new elements they’ll no doubt become a force to be reckoned with, both locally and worldwide.

1. Leviathan
2. Affluenza
3. Failed Harvest
4. Witch Doctor
5. False King
6. The Olm
7. Simian Plague
8. Germinate
9. Hyena
10. Circus of Flesh