Independent, 08.02.19 Misshapen is a Canadian band, suffering from collective dissociative identity crisis. Or something.
The group plays a form of melodic, technical metal where the indications of lack of sense of direction gradually can not be ignored.
But I'm ahead of the schedular course of events. Let's first introduce the band. Misshapen has been around since 2015, and has had a fairly steady lineup. Three of the quintets members are active in other constellations, where they reel off things like deathcore and brutal or melodic death metal.
The band released a demo near the end of 2016, and they're now ready with their second release, a musically disjointed EP of just under 22 minutes.
After a quite symphonic and soaring intro that becomes rather pompous when melodic guitars occur, the scene is set for the first of four proper songs. The guitars and vocals are enraged, but the air smells clinically and calculated as the short composition combines epic tones of melodeath with monotonous metalcore, and soon enough even rather mundane nu-metal vocals.
The Swarm in turn, shows more aggressive muscles. Apart from the slightly machinal and rather annoying jump-around rhythms, the sounds at times emulate a majestic anger à la acts such as Dimmu Borgir and Necronomicon quite well.
Thereafter, the music slides right back to its forced, let's-pretend-angry expression with melodic metalcore and post-metallic indifference. And I'm left feeling cheated and misled into having wasted time on something that branch in every direction without actually leading anywhere. In other words, an aimless and meaningless release from an act who waters down metal with tasteless, flat, plastic-like, pop-cultural knick-knacks.
I had a taste for parts of the material, but all in all, the album became too wavering and incoherent for me to offer a wholehearted approval.
With Dödsrikets kallelse, Ondfødt have weeded out the beginners problems, and at this point appear as a much stronger entity.
Among the improved aspects is the sound, which is almost like night and day in comparison. For those who prefer more primitive and rotten sounds, this sound can come off as more modernized and streamlined. Personally, I have a soft spot for flaming hellfire. And that's how Ondfødt sounds in 2019. As a flame tongue that rises like a volcanic geyser out of Hell. The same can be said of the vocals, another aspect that I reacted with ambivalence to on the previous occasion. Whatever your taste; the sound and vocals no longer alters in a “schizophrenic” manner from song to song.
The song material on Dödsrikets kallelse is admittedly somewhat simple. With 35 minutes spread across ten songs plus intro, the Finns don't lean on the most large-scale compositions, but rather largely resort to red-hot hatred. This works excellent, however, as in 2:22 long No ere jo Satan, and the following Nerdreji i Mörkri. The former is a brief, succinct and catchy devil-rocker, where even Vreth (Finntroll) emerges from the shadows. (See the video.) While the latter works well as an example of how parts of the material gives a few associations to old Mörk Gryning in riffs and guitar sounds. Towards the end of the album, we also find some longer and a notch more weighty and evocative songs of 4-5 minutes.
Ondfødt's enhanced and finally consistent expression appeal to me, and Dödsrikets kallelse is a solid step in the right direction in my book. I can personally do without the finishing cover song of their countrymen in Hämys. This one is of a more rowdy and punkish style that breaks a bit with the remaining expression. Some might consider it a fresh twist, and it's not something that affect me enough to influence my overall impression significantly. Rating: 5-