Never let it be said that brutality is missing from modern heavy metal. Melbourne based death metal outfit Hadal Maw return in true Aussie death-thrash form with ‘Charlatan’, their latest EP. Comprised of 5 five-minute plus tracks, Charlatan paints a sprawling, chaotic picture tailor made to make to your heart race and give your inner anxieties license to run rampant.

Harkening back to the early days of some of Death Metal’s finest provocateurs – think Cannibal Corpse by way of Carcass’s prog sensibilities – the album is unforgiving, sometimes to a fault. When you combine the complex instrumental posturing with the relentless, constantly shifting time signatures it’s occasionally a little hard to truly absorb the intricacy and craftsmanship of such a project. There is a fiercely intellectual beauty buried somewhere under all that masculine intensity.

Hadal Maw truly get to shine in the namesake track of the album – the two parter Charlatan I: The Grand Serpent and Charlatan II: Fervent Beasts. A moody, gloom-metal inspired adventure into Hadal Maw’s strengths, showcasing a propensity for the hyper-dramatic and a hitherto under-utilised willingness to slow down occasionally and let the listener bask in some finer melodic moments.

This album is essential listening for anybody with even a passing interest in the Australian Heavy Metal scene.

7/10

CHARLATAN IS RELEASED FRIDAY AUGUST 3RD

Review – Jeremy Bridie