Ornaments of Severity by Maim

Release date: June 9, 2017
Label: Soulseller Records

With their latest full-length album called Ornaments of Severity, Maim still pay tribute to Swedish death metal and the buzzsaw guitar sound. Maim was a band on the forefront of the new wave of old-school death metal scene several years ago, at about the same time deathcore was at its most relevant, and Swedish death metal bands like Maim released albums that had little marketing budget and were difficult to find.

Maim has never been as successful as some bands in the aforementioned new wave of old-school death metal trend that peaked and nearly died out years ago. However, there is still a strong affinity for this style of death metal. That is, in spite of bands like Morbus Chron and Horrendous experimenting with old-school death metal and branching out.

Ornaments of Severity may not expand the template for Swedeath, but it reflects an approach particular to bands like Maim who aren’t credited with the origins of Swedeath itself. Maim isn’t indigenous to the Swedeath scene in the nineties. It features a simpler interpretation of the Swedeath style started out by fellow new wave of old-school death metal bands like Blood Mortized or Unconsecrated.

Maim’s latest foray into full-length albums finds the band exploring primitive ritual practices. The band may chug too much for some fans who appreciate Dismember’s love for shredding and melody, but Maim try simpler chord patterns that work well with their simpler approach to writing songs. It isn’t Entombed all over again, and neither is it an album in close proximity to the other genre progenitor, Dismember. Ornaments of Severity somewhat reminds me of Impetigo with regards to the song structure, while also using the latter’s hypnotic leads and guitar solos.

That’s not to say that Impetigo was aligned with the sub-genre. Maim’s approach merely reminds me of what Impetigo did with their conceptualization and imagery. They harbor less intent on projecting Satanic ideology than in the use of outright horror.

Maim also love to play string grinding and guitar wailing in the background, and these elements refresh the template more than add unnecessary repetition. Mostly, the band plays slow to mid-tempo death metal, occasionally picking up the pace to feature mature songwriting dynamics. I also love the band’s vocal approach – fans can understand the lyrics and follow along.

Track six, ‘Skeletons’, is an interesting instrumental piece that showcases the band’s ability to hold the listener’s interest. Track eight, ‘Slaughterhouse’, is another short instrumental that doesn’t drive listeners away. In fact, it sounds eerie and uninviting. The truth is that a track by track commentary isn’t going to implant an impression of the music as clearly as a sampling of the stream can, so dive into this big can of worms, kiddies.

Don’t think that this is another foray into pointless quasi-intellectual, big bad wolf obsessed ideology many bands are guilty of using out a genuine lack of good ideas. Mankind proves far and away the closest to extreme and utter barbarism any jilted angel can profess to being guilty of, so if you love Swedeath and can’t get enough of it, check out Maim to hear how it’s done. Ceremonial knives and blood chalices sold separately. Screams are mandatory.

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