In the Bible Malchus is the servant of the high priest whose ear was cut off by Simon Peter during Jesus’ arrest. Jesus put his ear back on (John 18:10-11, Luke 22:50-51). Malchus is also the name of a metal band from Poland. THE EVIL HOUSE (2016, Roxx Records) is their fourth full length album and their first fully recorded in English. The album’s executive producer is Bill Bafford. Members of the band pictured and listed in the CD packaging are: Radoslaw Solek (vocals, guitars, songwriter), Pawel Tumiel (guitars), Bartosz Tulek (bass), and Tomasz ‘Papirus’ Pyzia (drums). A press release says: “The Evil House is a concept album which documents the dark descent of a young frustrated Pole’s soul and the lyrics relate to his spiritual journey, while focusing on his everyday struggles against adversity”.
Musically the opening track ‘Enemy No. 1’ is a blistering metal assault on the ears. The lyrics are growled but decipherable. If you’ve ever felt the devil was getting an upper hand on you, you’ll relate to these lyrics: “This is my enemy, the one who knows my weakness/He knows where to strike/He knows when to torment me.../Daily life weakens my desire to undertake, to challenge my enemy.../It is invisible/Stronger as time goes/It is invisible/He’s killing me in time”. The title track for the most part is another metal assault, but it ends with a beautiful, melodic instrumental piece. The lyrics reflect on the state of the world today: “I don’t believe in what people tell us/I don’t listen to what this world says/Here, foolishness is wisdom/Here, debauchery is virtue/Is God the one who left this world?/Has He been banished from our hearts?/I don’t believe this is how it should be/The evil house has been chosen consciously”.
‘77’ is a thrash metal track based around Matthew 18:21-22. Ultimately it is about being given a clean slate after doing much wrong: “77 times, 77/I’m sorry brothers and sisters that I have sinned against you/I forgive 77 times and so I trust to be forgiven/Everybody has a chance to purify their wounds/Everybody, even someone like me has the right to live”. ‘Eyes Open’ starts softly with spoken word but transitions into a heavy, growled metal song. It offers this advice: “So wisely use what has been given to you/Don’t be afraid/Your every word, your every day/All of these moments, give them a meaning/So that you don’t have any regrets/So wisely use what has been given to you/Don’t be afraid/Whatever will be, will be/Live according to your conscience/So where your treasure is, so’s your heart”.
‘From Dust’ reminds us God is the one who gives our lives true meaning: “For dust you are and to dust you’ll return/Like a drop in the ocean, like one of many living blindly, constantly on the run.../A breath of life in the dust/There’s a name in each drop/There’s a plan in the whole ocean/A plan through Word”. ‘Mother’ is a song of gratitude, again growled: “My first love, the first step that I made/Thanks to your help and protection/Mother, I’ve not fallen/Thanks to your care Mother, I’ve not fallen/Thanks to your help/First failure, first tears you wiped away”.
‘Tripudium’ is an energetic metal song with great electric guitar work. It’s a song about inner reflection: “Where treasure is, your heart will also be/How can I find what’s really inside of it?/What gives you happiness?/What gives you love?/Doesn’t come from matter, doesn’t come from lust/Where treasure is, your heart will also be/How can I find what’s really inside of it?” ‘But Deliver Us’ is a really heavy song. Think headbanger! Lyrically though, it serves as a prayer: “From the abyss of loneliness and of void/From the fear of future that is unknown/From the loss of faith, hope and love/But deliver us.../From a sudden death of body and soul/From forgetting that there’s something more/But deliver us”.
‘Creed’ is not a cover of either the Petra or Rich Mullins song of the same name. This number is all about perseverance and determination: “An uphill road, a winding road/It’s getting harder/Another try/My next approach/My Creed/Silence/My Creed is to go on/Despite the rain, despite thunder/Silence/My Creed is to go on/Despite the critics, despite death wishes”. The last track, ‘Winter’, is a short, quieter instrumental.
Malchus states: “We don’t want to be close-minded and limit ourselves only to heavy sounds...Our songs can be compared to action movies, where one cannot fall into monotony”. From my perspective, THE EVIL HOUSE is, when it’s all said and done, a grinding, aggressive, powerful metal album with angry sounding vocals, mostly growled. While this type of music will not appeal to the masses, just as bluegrass doesn’t, Malchus do what they do very well. They do it with great artistry and thought, adding softer sounds here and there. In addition, this is music that conveys some worthy Christian messages in simple terms lyrically. I’m recommending this album to fans of Ultimatum, Mortification, and Vengeance Rising and rating it 88%. For more info visit: www.facebook.com/malchuspl or www.roxxproductions.com.